News & Views

Cannes Lions / Saturday’s Highlights

by Contagious Team
Saturday can traditionally feel a little empty at Cannes Lions, with the big execs on their way home and many others licking their wounds from another night spent in the Gutter Bar. This year, however, there is a real buzz about the Palais, as Cannes Lions introduces its first ever Innovation Day.

The seminars kicked off in (we think) the best possible way: with Contagious’ very own Nick Parish and Will Sansom talking about Teaching Old Technology New Tricks. There’s a full write up of this talk on our site, and you can watch it here.

The key theme of the day really felt like promoting creativity and technology to help drive social causes. Here are the two seminars that really stood out:

(Red): A Conversation with Bono and Jonathan Ive

A packed Debussy theatre audience welcomed U2's frontman Bono and Apple's head of design, Sir Jonathan Ive to the stage to discuss the work of (Red): a charity that engages businesses in the fight against HIV/Aids. 

'Aids is an accident of geography,' explained Bono, highlighting the fact that HIV sufferers in richer countries will get the treatment they need to survive, yet in many African countries the disease is effectively a death sentence. Bono then went on to urge the creative community to help give the charity the momentum it needs to achieve its goal of eradicating HIV/Aids. Even though many corporations, such as Apple and Bank of America, have raised hundreds of millions of dollars for the cause, (Red) needs a new wave of backing in order to pressurise governments to contribute as well. This would unlock a huge new revenue stream.

Shane Smith, the founder and CEO of VICE (and moderator of the panel) then pledged to create a (Red) online platform, where (Red) products could be sold. Bono asked the audience of brands and agencies to start creating limited edition (Red) products that could be sold on the site. This started a wave of spontaneous pitches from the audience - for example, one delegate owned the rights to the domain name '.HIV', and pledged to allow the charity to use it for the next 100 years.

'This is the most important room for (Red) to ever be in,' concluded Bono, referring to the power of brands in leveraging support and building a swell of momentum for the charity.

Intel: Make the Future /

Intel inspired the audience by showing how the democratisation of technology is transforming lives in the real world. The company can now make transistors so small that you could now lay 4,500 of them across the width of a human hair. And this has given us something in the palm of our hand (our mobile) that’s now more powerful than the Apollo 11 spaceship that put men on the moon. 

To put the rate of tech acceleration into perspective, Kevin Sellers, VP of creative services and digital marketing at Intel, compared it to the car industry. If the VW Beetle (a car that was popular in 1971, when the first transistor was invented) had been innovated at the rate of a transistor, today it would be able to travel at Mach425, circle the earth five times on a gallon of petrol and would cost about 20 Cents.

Intel then shared a handful of fascinating individuals that have reshaped our view of ‘the impossible’ by using technology to make a difference. First up, the story of Jack Andraka, a 15-year-old schoolboy who invented an early warning system for pancreatic cancer, even though oncology researchers said it couldn’t be done.

Next, Mick Embling, CEO of the NOT IMPOSSIBLE Foundation, spoke about his personal mission to create 3D-printed arms for victims of the Sudanese war, in which bombs and mines tore the limbs off innocent victims. ‘You don’t need a degree or expertise, just persistence in wanting to achieve what you want,’ said Embling, referring to the rise of the Maker Movement.

Sellers rounded the session off by explaining how Intel translates these inspiring human stories into powerful content, connecting tech with people on an emotional level. ‘If you can think it, you can do it,’ he said.

To hear more from Contagious at Cannes, check out Storystream, listen to our daily podcasts and follow us on Twitter.