Cannes has its place, but creative inspiration comes from the 'beauty in otherness'

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I’ve been to Cannes. I’ve had a good time, sipping rosé and downing hideous alcohol combinations at the Google Beach.

But for me, the most important part of the festival is the creative inspiration it provides.

The parties hosted on yachts and in beautiful villas are all very well, but the intoxication really lies in the chance to see the work and to hear first hand from some of the best minds in the business. For bigger companies who send whole teams out to the south of France, networking is sometimes a priority, but for smaller independents like Accept & Proceed, it’s always the creativity that counts.

And does the best creativity come as a result of Cannes? At its best – yes. Cannes does inspire people to raise the bar of creativity and be brave enough to push boundaries. But at its worst, it’s an echo chamber. A week of the industry collectively celebrating the industry with everyone well and truly in their comfort zone, rather than out of it.

The best inspiration comes from outside our advertising bubble. The awards-hungry approach to creativity isn’t thinking about work from an audience point of view. Ever accidently said a marketing buzzword in front of your friends? You quickly realise that we can at times, become slightly detached from the people we’re actually trying to connect with.

Our role as creative people is to be passionate, to foster creative collaboration and build work that resonates on an emotional level. To achieve this, we need to take the time to interrogate briefs, and to iterate on the work in a way that really drives up standards and produces stand-out, unique work.

To make work that challenges what’s out in the market rather than follows it, you need to look beyond La Croissette.

There is so much inspiration everywhere. Whether you’re in this industry or not, we are lucky that we have a lot of cultural opportunities throughout the year, not just in the June sunshine at Cannes.

We go on agency trips to find new ideas, sometimes locally, sometimes further afield. On our trip to Tokyo we stayed in a capsule hotel, walked the streets, visited galleries, and spent time thinking about how Asian sensibilities could influence our work.

Our Tel Aviv trip was more about history, and understanding a culture that’s weighted in tradition, while enjoying the energy of the city as a party destination.

Just a couple of weeks ago we ran a workshop called FearHack where we discussed how we can challenge ourselves every day to design fearlessly, and how to create the unexpected.

There is beauty in otherness. When you step off a plane in a country that assaults your senses, you let go of preconceptions. Your brain is open to new experiences because you’re not following the same patterns you always do.

When you go somewhere new, that’s when you open undiscovered areas of your brain and embrace new experiences in a way that encourages true inspiration. Even wandering aimlessly around a foreign supermarket or looking at sugar packaging in a café can be a beautiful experience.

Cannes can provide a heavy dose of inspiration - not necessarily at the big parties or during the celebrity-endorsed stage time - but in sessions by free-thinking creatives. If you were lucky enough to be out in the South of France last week, I hope you took the opportunity to appreciate the work from around the world – and the odd chance encounter over a glass of rosé – had a wander beyond La Croissette, and found inspiration outside the industry bubble.


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