While creatives are nostalgic at Cannes, media looks forward

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For those who missed Cannes, and for those at Cannes who missed the seminar in which Sir John Hegarty and Dan Wieden discussed "30 years of creative chaos" at Bartle Bogle Hegarty and Wieden & Kennedy, you missed a piece of ad history.

As Hegarty opined and reminisced (sat, as he does, with his legs crossed and his stripy socks on display) and the audience was shown the TV spots the pair were most proud of having made happen, it became crystal clear that, in 2012, brilliant creativity strikes you in the same way as brilliant creative would have three decades ago. Because while great campaigns cannot always be defined as being as relevant now as they were half-a-lifetime ago, the ingredients that go into great creative work remain the same. Storytelling is about people, and each generation remains essentially identical: we like to be captivated, amused, moved.

It is why the seminar worked so well. Far from being a showcase for two grandaddies of creativity recounting memories that no-one wants to listen to, young creatives from around the world were desperate to get a seat in that auditorium. Because when Hegarty talks about how BBH made "launderette" for Levi's with no verbal script because it needed an ad that was translatable across the globe, it still chimes as a genius solution to a problem (and a brilliant creative challenge) that would apply as much today as it did then.

If Hegarty and Wieden had been media chiefs discussing their histories, it would have been a different story. It would have gone a bit like this: they wouldn't have been invited. Despite media owners and media agencies increasingly rocking up at Cannes, we will never see the day when two media chiefs sit in reclining chairs on the stage at the Palais reminiscing about media in the 80s. Because, quite frankly, no-one would care. It wouldn't be because the individuals themselves weren't interesting. It would be because what they knew then has become largely irrelevant to how media agencies operate today.

You see, media has been inherently bound to technology ever since mass publishing was founded by Johannes Gutenberg in 1439. Walking up the steps at the Twitter-branded Palais entrance this year and into the gut of the festival, you would have passed a stand for the crowdsourcing photo network Pixxers, you may have stopped to download extra content on to your smartphone using the Cannes Lions Goodybag app and you probably updated your Facebook status.

It is clear that while creativity will always benefit from looking back at the good old days, media will - and should - always stubbornly look forward. Of course, Hegarty, or Mr Vorsprung durch Technik, knows this all too well.



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