Kinetic Active's Creative Executive, Sophia Pistofidou, entered the Cannes Young Lions School earlier this year. Here she shares her thoughts and feelings before, during, and after the iconic creative festival.
A little less than a year ago, I watched a presentation from the 2016 Young Lion Academy attendee. I remember thinking how incredible it must be but never really thought that one day that could be me. I was only in the industry for a few weeks and now, a year later, it’s my turn.
I don’t really know what to expect. I know two things: the first is that I’m going to Cannes. The second is that I’m attending the biggest creative festival in the world, something I still haven’t grasped yet. From what I understand, my experience will be a unique combination of chance and opportunity, just like everyone else’s. I will meet a specific number of people and experience a certain sequence of events that will be unique to my own understanding of what the festival is. And I can’t wait to find out what that will be.
I’d rather not have any expectations or goals. I want my mind to be open to opportunity. I want to allow space for diversions. If I don’t get lost and wonder in a creative festival, where else? I want to complete everything that has been planned for me but I want to also see where the path leads and take some turns to the unexpected. See a speaker about a subject I wouldn’t normally chose, or roam around and talk to people without any real purpose or intent and see where the conversation goes.
I am about half way through this life-changing experience. And I can say that comfortably because the world, as I know it, is already changing before my eyes. Not just the world of advertising and media. But the world as a whole.
I have already witnessed so many incredible talks and been part of multiple Media Academy sessions. The festival has a captivating allure and atmosphere that makes you forget to eat or sleep. I feel physically malnourished but full of ideas. I am only half way through and my mind is filled to the brim with concepts and perceptions I could never even imagine before.
I have learned that context and culture are important in a campaign but clashing them is almost as impactful. That data is important in creativity as in functionality but also that data is meaningless. When the world’s leading creative minds come together, juxtaposition is bound to occur yet somehow, opposing concepts find a way to coexist. The world can be upside down but also the right way up all in an instant. And yet it makes sense.
The more I learn the hungrier I get both physically and mentally. I can’t wait to see what experiences I have tomorrow and for the rest of the week but one thing’s for sure: the world is about to spin in more ways than up and down.
Leaving the Cannes Lions Festival feels like re-entering the real world. As if all those experiences were part of a utopian fantasy land that’s ripe and pulsing with creativity and wonder.
It cannot be described as a dream, because I came back different. When the greatest creative minds come together they cause ripples and make things move. They influence and indirectly affect the actions and outcomes of each other’s, and our, future as we leave the festival and regress to what can only be described by comparison, as simple reality. If it was a dream, that reality would seem unchanged. It’s not. The daily life feels like it’s layered with deeper, more intense colours, where beauty lies in more places than previously perceived. Every action is an opportunity to be creative and inspire creativity in those around you.
I feel incredibly lucky and grateful to have been part of such an incredible experience. To have been able to talk, share and challenge a number of related and unrelated controversial topics. For being part of a community of creatives who have shared their unique vision in a busy and intense week. I now know, not just my place in the industry, but my place in the world.