What Cannes Lions reveals about goal at the moment

Many famous brands won Lions at Cannes last week with ‘purposeful’ campaigns. The winning work reveals that many are still seeing purpose as delivering great creative campaigns rather than essential business transformation, says Becky Willan at Given

Celebrating and encouraging purpose was certainly the intention of the Cannes Lions board when it devised this year’s festival of creativity. The 2022 event was structured around six key themes which led with sustainability, and was closely followed by DE&I.

And of the winners of the coveted awards, 28 of the 32 Grand Prix handed out touched on purpose or sustainability in one way or another. It shows that the marketing and creative industries have woken up to the responsibility of their work and the opportunities it has to create positive change, which is great.

But the awards showed that the central point of purpose, and the role of creative agencies in its delivery, is still being missed. The world needs creativity more than ever but this energy needs to be applied to business, rather than marketing challenges. As long as brands and advertising remain the focus for purpose, we are only creating a beautiful distraction.

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