Several members of the SVA community recently participated in the 2015 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world’s biggest annual awards show and festival for professionals in the creative communications industry.
Angie Wojak (BFA 1990 Media Arts), director of Career Development at the College, hosted a talk with fellow alumnus Pete Favat (BFA 1983 Advertising), chief creative officer at leading ad agency Deutsch L.A. They spoke to a group of emerging professionals about key tenants all young creatives should understand as their careers develop, such as the value of being provocative, prolific and collaborative. “Pete emphasized the value of not playing it safe if you want to create original work that really engages people,” Wojak told SVA Close Up. “He told the audience that embracing conflict is good and identifying an enemy to push back against is essential in advertising.”
Favat shared stories from his own career that illustrate how he’s applied those ideas to his work. For example, his award-winning “Truth” anti-smoking campaign was a series of ads that took the tobacco industry to task for the lethal effects of their product, and was created by using the tobacco industry’s own research and statements against them. Favat took the Cannes audience through the steps of creating the campaign, from research to launch.
Sticking with theme of the importance of challenge, artist and MFA Products of Design faculty member Emilie Baltz joined a panel that examined how creatives push themselves outside of their comfort zones to develop new work in new mediums. Chloe Gottlieb, MFA Interaction Design faculty member and executive creative director at R/GA, led a master class on why brands are becoming interfaces. And MFA Design Co-chair of Lita Talarico participated in Cannes networking events and attended panels throughout the week.
The festival featured over 250 speakers, from advertising world superstars to technology firm CEOs and celebrities. Among the high-profile presenters were: Pharrell Williams, who spoke about his collaborative artistic process; former Vice President Al Gore, who gave a talk on the role of communications in political and environmental campaigning; and Robert Greenberg, Global Chairman and CEO of R/GA, who collaborated with the festival in launching the Cannes Start-Up Academy to help new companies sharpen their brand identity and business plans.
A major theme at this year’s festival was gender equality, with a new award called the Glass Lion that recognized advertising work that explicitly addressed issues of gender inequality or prejudice. This year’s festival also placed added emphasis on technology with companies such as Facebook and Google offering networking and programming events throughout the week.
Photo: Pete Favat and Angie Wojak.