“We need you to help us find the best way to tell the stories, I’m asking you all to use your creativity and innovation to help us transform a complex agenda into a workable story.”
CANNES, France — United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki-moon opened up the afternoon on Friday to a full auditorium, at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where the brightest and most creative minds from the advertising, marketing and innovative communications in world convene in one place for an entire week.
Mr. Ban came to the event on a mission to unite a community that is known for their competitive nature. “I have never been more convinced, that when we work together we are stronger, that’s the key to a better world,” said the UN Chief. This message being delivered less than an hour after flying in from Cuba, where he witnessed a historic peace deals between Colombia and FARC.
Mr. Ban gave the packed room a quick overview of what the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and what it took to get 193 countries to agree on one agenda. He pointed out that if the United Nations is able to bring the world’s leaders together under a defined set of goals, then the advertising industry can also come together to help use the power of advertising, marketing and innovative communications and find the best way to tell the stories about some of the world’s biggest humanitarian issues.
“This is Cannes – so I have come with a pitch,” Mr. Ban said. “I know all of you have tremendous power to shape opinions. You are master storytellers. And I want you to help us create the biggest campaign ever for humanity.”
After his introduction speech and pitch, Mr. Ban welcomed up to stage a panel made up of, what they have coined, the “Big six”. The Chief Executives of the ad industry holding groups that united on stage were, Yannick Bolloré, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Havas; Michael Roth, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of IPG; John Wren, President and Chief Executive Officer of Omnicom; Maurice Lévy, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Publicis Groupe; Sir Martin Sorrell, founder and Chief Executive Officer of WPP and by live stream Chief Executive Officer and President of Dentsu, the "mad men" as Mr. Ban called them, to discuss the new initiative they are working on called Common Ground.
In a joint statement released by the six companies, “The Common Ground initiative recognizes that the global issues the UN has identified transcend commercial rivalry. By working in partnership to support the Sustainable Development Goals, we want to demonstrate that even fierce competitors can set aside their differences in order to serve a wider common interest. We hope others in and beyond our own business decide to do the same.”
Also announced within the Common Ground initiative, is a fund that will be developed to exclusively support the winning ideas from the Cannes Young Lions competition. The funds will be used to give the winning ideas that support the Sustainable Development Goals the greatest chance for success.
Mr. Ban attendance to the Cannes Lions is an important recognition of the power and impact of advertising & media for social impact, and the role the advertising industry plays in shaping the views of the public on important issues. There is no other group of people who are better positioned to have the largest impact in the shortest amount of time in educating and activating the public on a global scale than the advertising industry, whose job it is every day to seduce and entice consumers to purchase goods and services. It is these same set of skills that make the advertising, marketing and innovative communications professional leaders the perfect partners for the United Nations to educate and activate the global community to address what are the biggest issues facing our world today.
Mr. Ban made it clear to the audience that this is about getting everyone involved, asking for other agency groups to step up to the challenge using the power of advertising, marketing and innovative communications – to help make sure the SDGs are the business of all businesses – and the business of all people, inspire all, especially young people and women, and find the best ways to tell the story.
“We are the first generation that can end global poverty, we are the last generation that cannot risk climate change before it is too late” was the tag line used by Mr. Ban in his pitch, adding that “In the short term, we want the 2030 Agenda to be known by 2 billion people. We want to mobilize one million people as change agents. Help us reach far and wide,”
If you are interested in additional information on the Sustainable Development Goals, please visit the link below: http://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment