Cannes is wide open... but not for everyone

Like the wider industry, there's much more to be done to drive diversity and inclusion.

Welcome to Campaign’s annual global edition.

There was a time not so long ago when the yearly Cannes Lions Festival and our editorial endeavours around that event were the closest we came to a unified Campaign world view of our industry, its triumphs and its challenges.

Now, the Campaign teams around the world collaborate on a daily basis and the content we produce – whether that be local stories that resonate beyond borders or stories about global businesses and brands – finds an international audience whose ambitions and interests don’t recognise geographical boundaries. 

Campaign’s internationalisation has kept step with the globalisation of the industry’s talent pool, as smart executives pursue career goals not just beyond their homeland but beyond the old silos of advertising specialisms.

If Cannes is a symbol of the industry’s global melting pot, it’s also a totem for the broadening of businesses operating in the marketing space. The advertising industry – harder than ever to define – is now wide open.

So it’s seriously disappointing to hear that people of colour or from minority groups will again be underrepresented in Cannes. The industry is now wide open, but still predominantly for certain types of people. 

Of course, it’s not cheap to attend Cannes and, by definition, it attracts a senior crowd with a profile that perhaps reflects the industry as it was 20 years ago rather than necessarily as it is for people joining today, though there’s still so much more to be done to drive diversity and inclusion at all levels.

But one of the great joys of coming together from all around the world to share inspiration and celebrate excellence is the sense of community that is created, embracing difference but thriving on shared values.

Until this community is properly representative of all types of talent, we will fail to fulfil our collective potential and secure our collective future.

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