Few major events in the advertising industry offer more opportunities for professional development than the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, and yet it’s rare to see agency talents there who have not already reached the senior leadership ranks.
While Cannes has made strides in diversifying its speaker roster and jury pools, the audience still skews largely male, with relatively few women in the industry being given the opportunity to celebrate their best work and learn from their peers.
To help more women get access to the professional-development benefits of attending the Cannes Lions, Adweek and global advocacy group InVisible Creatives are joining forces with a call for agencies and in-house studios to honor the women who work on top-tier campaigns by sending them to the festival.
It’s a win-win for agencies, with Adweek and InVisible Creatives offering these selected employees VIP access to Cannes events and ongoing mentorship opportunities with some of today’s top brand marketers.
InVisible Creatives, founded in September 2018, aims to boost and celebrate women in creative roles such as copywriter, art director or associate creative director. The organization regularly shares its members’ portfolios and career ambitions on Instagram, and now it hopes to help make these women more visible at the Cannes Lions as well.
“We aim to give women more visibility at Cannes and put them in the spotlight,” says Maddy Kramer, a co-founder of InVisible Creatives and associate creative director at Anomaly New York. “We want more female creatives on stage and being protagonists of a festival that’s still predominantly male.”
To join this effort, simply fill out this online form to let Adweek know which female, non-executive creatives your agency is sending to Cannes. If you’re not yet sending any, we encourage you to consider it and let us know via the form once you’ve booked their travel.
Women who attend Cannes as part of this initiative will receive:
• VIP access to Adweek events throughout the week, including presentations by many of today’s top brand marketers and creative icons
• Invitations to customized mentorship events tailored to rising female creative talent
• Hands-on training on public speaking and interacting with the media
• Networking opportunities with Adweek editors and brand marketers
• Agency acknowledgment via Adweek.com and Adweek’s social channels
• Companywide Adweek membership discounts for participating agencies
• Discounted tickets to future Adweek professional development events
“At its best, the Cannes Lions is about two things: celebrating creative excellence and developing your professional skills alongside the world’s top talent,” says Stephanie Paterik, Adweek’s managing editor. “Women who are rising through the ranks of creative departments deserve those opportunities, and they have crucial insights to add to the conversations happening at the festival.”
This opportunity is open to women of any age or career background, as long as they are currently in creative positions below the higher leadership levels most often seen represented at Cannes.
“It’s important to note this isn’t just about young talent,” Paterik says. “There are women of all ages in roles like copywriter, senior art director or associate creative director, yet many of them have never had the chance to attend a key event like Cannes. We’re hoping to see a wide range of experience levels represented at this year’s festival and not just the usual C-suite crowd.”
Beyond the benefits being offered to participating agencies through this initiative, the inspiration and mentorship sparked at Cannes will have a long-term positive impact on both the agencies and the festival itself.
“To start accelerating the change, it’s paramount to start seeing more female creatives on stage, not hidden in the credits,” says Laura Visco, InVisible Creatives co-founder and deputy executive creative director at 72andSunny Amsterdam, “because these creatives and their fantastic ideas are the ones junior creatives will look up to and get inspired.”
If your agency is already sending rising female creative talent to Cannes or now plans to do so, be sure to fill out this form so that Adweek and InVisible Creatives can follow up with more detailed information about the opportunities ahead.