Joseph "Fitz" Maro, innovation strategist with 360i New York, will be making his first trip to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this year as the winner of Campaign U.S.' inaugural "Fearless Thinker" contest.
Maro's winning answer to the contest's central question – "If you had the floor at Cannes, what industry-changing idea would you share?" – came in the form of a video imploring the ad industry to take a lesson from the longevity of Paul McCartney's career: To stay relevant, an artist must collaborate with the culture that surrounds him, even as it evolves into unfamiliar new forms.
"Paul McCartney has a great voice; he’s a great entertainer; and as an older brand, he’s done a great job of keeping himself relevant," he said. "Everyone respects him for his musical talent, but I also embrace him for his cultural relevance. "
During his week in France, Maro will write a daily diary of his experiences, which will be published on Campaign U.S. and featured on a Cannes Lions blog from Campaign and its sister publications.
A graduate of the master’s program at the VCU Brandcenter in Creative Technology, Maro said he sees technology as facilitating "moving from a world that’s all about talking to people to a world where people talk."
"Technology is a big shift in the world, and [the advertising industry is] just a subset that has to get ready to embrace it wholeheartedly," Maro continued. "I think that the world is changing very, very quickly, and I’m excited to be a part of that change."