ICCO announces new Innovation in Communications panel

ICCO has announced at its annual Global PR Summit that it will be launching a new Innovation in Communications panel.

The panel will aim to engage and educate the international public relations and communications industry on innovative topics relating to its development. It will also prepare research into new practices and encourage the adoption of ground-breaking ideas and products. Finally, it will benchmark and develop best practice standards in communications and engagement.

The panel will be co-chaired by Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications, and Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications.

The panel will be made up of the following members:

  • Richard Bagnall
  • Hanna Basha
  • Stuart Bruce
  • Dom Burch
  • Simon Collister
  • Russell Goldsmith (Co-Chairman)
  • Michelle Goodall
  • Joanna Halton
  • Gabrielle Laine-Peters
  • Rachel Miller
  • Adam Parker
  • Elayne Phillips (Co-Chairman)
  • Julio Roma
  • Andrew Smith
  • Paul Wilkinson

If you would like to find out more information about the panel, please contact Russell Goldsmith.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “Innovation is key to good communications and is an essential part of a thriving PR industry. The panel will share best practice and innovative practices with the wider global PR and communications community. The industry is already at the forefront of innovation and the panel will serve to encourage a healthy debate on innovation.”

Russell Goldsmith, Founder, Audere Communications said: “It’s a genuine thrill to have another opportunity to work with the same forward thinking individuals who made up a large part of the CIPR’s Social Media Panel.  After our work in that team finished in December 2015, a number of us felt there was more value we could add and having spoken with colleagues and peers in the industry, across business and in the public sector, we felt it appropriate to re-launch the panel with a focus on innovation in products and practice across international communications.  We were therefore delighted that ICCO agreed to support us and give us a platform to achieve our objectives.”

Elayne Phillips, Head of Civil Service Communications & Internal Communications, Prime Minister’s Office & Cabinet Office Communications said: “Professional communicators from in-house teams, agencies and consultants, are facing similar global challenges – some of which can be solved with innovative communications.  As a group, we have always been proud to be progressive in our approach, challenge the status quo and offer new thinking, and we want to continue to push the boundaries.  So, get involved, follow us, contribute to discussions and join us at the heart of innovation in communications.”

About ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

Crystal Balling the Cannes Festival of Creativity by Karen Strauss

Article by Karen Strauss, Partner, Chief Creative & Strategy Officer at Ketchum. 


When the wise people at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity put together 8 days of inspiring content for the international creative elite, they are curating workshops and sessions to hit the big issues keeping creative leaders up at night.

This year’s line-up looks provocative, marked by a whiff of alarm around how truly difficult it’s become to cut through all the content pollution.  After poring over hundreds and hundreds of seminar titles and descriptions, here’s what I expect will be the buzz on the Riviera.

STANDING OUT HAS NEVER BEEN HARDER – The boldface speakers in Cannes will be cajoling marketing communicators to invent new ways of telling stories.  Innovator Anna Wintour will urge the industry to steal a page from “Hamilton,” which literally invented a new genre of musical theatre storytelling; Academy Award-winning director Alejandro Inarritu will advocate the kind of mould-breaking that produced “The Revenant” and “Birdman,” and Barton F. Graf founder Gerry Graf will rail against groupthink and insist that finding one original-thinking creative partner is the only path to elusive breakthroughs.

A great rallying cry for novelty.

IS VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360 VIDEO THE ANSWER? – Nobody will leave Cannes without Virtual Reality and 360 experiences, yet given the ubiquity of these technologies, one has to wonder if they’ll be stand-out strategies or instantly too commonplace.  Google is promising immersive experiences that enhance storytelling; Samsung’s VR and 360 showcase will demonstrate how to “engage culture and experience compassion”; and MOFILM will share “View From Above,” (, its incredible aerial film project that used drones to film 18 destinations where Emirates flies, allowing travellers to experience each city with remarkable perspective.

Trailblazing immersive experiences.

IS SEX THE ANSWER? – Better connections with consumers may be as primal as plumbing their sexual desires, and this year in Cannes, sex is on stage.  My friends at Flamingo believe a generation’s sexuality is a key indicator of its drivers and values and that each generation’s approach to sex is different.  They’ll argue that recognizing sexual attitudes are a path to connecting with broader hopes and dreams.  Another panel with sex therapist Esther Perel will draw connections between online dating and brand promiscuity today, providing tips for cultivating desire in all kinds of relationships.

Sex plays to our primitive instincts.

IS HUMOUR THE ANSWER? – In winning over audiences, comedy has long been king – and thankfully in Cannes, “queen.” The female SNL trio of Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer will make the case for women’s humour; Rashida Jones, a comedy writer and star of “Parks & Recreation” will reveal how humour can shine a light on important issues; and Mike McAvoy, the CEO of The Onion, will caution that “if you’re not having any fun with your brand, you’re doing it wrong.”

Laughter IS the shortest distance between two people.

DURATION & EPHEMERA MATTER – Beyond the topics, tone and technology, the length of content – and whether it’s ephemeral or not – takes on added importance in Cannes.  The Ephemeral Web is how people consume content every day, so how can brands create lasting messages when they self-destruct?  Embracing ephemerality to ignite creativity will be a hot topic.  In one session, we’ll consider whether long-form branded video content is the answer to shorter attention spans, based on new research around social media viewing habits.

Size matters, just what size is the question.

HAS CONTENT KILLED ADVERTISING? – And the mother lode – can advertising be saved?  One CCO wishes it weren’t such a dirty word, and urges her industry to not let words like content and storytelling replace “traditional” advertising in constructing brand purpose.  Conversely, a pair of advertising strategy officers will start a movement to stop advertising to save the industry. At the heart of the debate is ad blocking, and whether creativity and technology can come together to deliver digital experiences that consumers love rather than block.   Seems advertising is fighting for its life in Cannes.

Will it survive the week?

Karen is leading a panel this year titled “Content for the Ages, All of Them” that will examine age-agnostic marketing.  It is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 14:30 in The Forum.

For full schedule see ICCO Guide to Cannes Lions:


Raise Your Hand! PR at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

Written by Renee Wilson, President, PR Council


The marketplace is quickly transforming. That is evident. The older, more traditional forms of communications are no longer moving the needle as they once did. However, one thing is clear:  the methods, strategies and activity that have PR-thinking at the core are where the action is. It is my prediction that this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, we will see the majority of winners from a host of categories have PR-thinking at the core of the idea. And when attendees ask why the program was so successful, raise your hand and proudly say it was “PR-thinking that powered the strategy and the creative idea.”

This will be my sixth year going to the Festival, and I’m just as excited as ever. Nowhere else in the world can you have a professional experience that is so awe-inspiring, educational and enjoyable all in one place. I’ve had the good fortune of serving on two PR juries, once as the PR jury chair, and this year, along with two of my PR Council Members, I’ll be serving as a PR Mentor in the Cannes Young Lions Marketers Academy, along with A.G. Bevilaqua of M Booth and Ron D’Innocenzo of Golin. It’s a great opportunity to help teach and inspire about the power of PR-thinking as it’s important to help marketers of all ages understand more about the types of work we do. It’s not PR versus advertising. It’s PR and advertising, and media, and in-store, online etc.

What do I mean when I say PR-thinking? It’s strategies and ideas that involve working with influencers, third parties, experiential, content and stakeholder relationships for starters. You will find it in the winning Cannes entries.

However, if you are still on the fence as to whether or not to attend the Festival, or more importantly to care, here are three reasons:

1. Cannes Festival showcases creativity at its best. There is no other festival that brings together the greatest creative minds in the global marketing communications industry and gives you access to the best and brightest in integrated communications. Think of it like the Olympics of Marketing. We can all learn from the powerful work.

2. Young Lions Competition. For only the third time, PR is included as a category in this competition. We are proudly sending Team USA and I’m sure other regions are putting forth their bright young talent too. These future leaders definitely have a thing or two to teach us about the industry.

3. ICCO House of PR. For the second year in a row, ICCO will be hosting the House of PR. This is a great meeting place for PR professionals to gather to glean insights from the juries, points of view from thought leaders, and network with colleagues from different agencies and companies from around the world. It can’t be missed!

I hope to see you at the Cannes festival, where we can push forward the power of PR-thinking from around the world, inspire others, and be inspired!


For more information about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity visit:

Young PR Stars Compete for Chance to Represent their Country at Cannes Lions

The hottest competition for PR’s young talent has kick-started across the globe, with teams competing for the chance to represent their country at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Over 22 local Young Lions PR Competitions are underway in countries including Brazil, China, Russia, Italy, Turkey and the USA.

Last week the UK competition was won by Matt Watson and Paul Stollery of Hotwire, who were up against 40 teams around the UK. The French Young Lions place was won by the Havas Worldwide Paris team of Daniel Saltsman and Fabien Aufrechter. The winners of other local competitions will be announced over the next two months.

The winning pairs will be sent to Cannes, France in June to compete at the international PR competition, which is part of the world’s largest advertising and communications event Cannes Lions.

To take part in the challenge, entrants must be 30 years of age or younger, and be working in the PR industry. Teams of two respond to a charity brief in 24 hours, and shortlisted candidates will have their PR strategy judged by an expert jury.

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the proud sponsor of the Young Lions PR Competition for the third consecutive year. ICCO has also sponsored ‘The House of PR’ cabana for the Festival week. If you are interested in sub-sponsoring ICCO’s participation at Cannes Lions in 2016 please contact ICCO General Manager Charlene Corrin.

The 63rd International Festival of Creativity takes place on 18th – 25th June 2016.


About ICCO
The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations in 33 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms.

About The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
The International Festival of Creativity, also known as Cannes Lions, is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications. Founded in 1954, the Festival takes place every June in Cannes, France. As the most prestigious international annual advertising and communications awards, over 40,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. The Festival is also the only truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. More than 12,000 delegates from 95 countries attend a week-long programme of exhibitions, screenings and talks by worldwide thought leaders. As the networking and learning opportunity of the year, Cannes Lions is the must-attend event for anyone involved in brand communications.




Pride of the Lions

Written by Emily Andrews



The Cannes Lions Festival has a storied history of recognising the best in advertising and marketing. In recent years, it has honoured more work in the PR, brand and corporate communications space. Emily Andrews reports.

Once an awards festival that was predominantly geared toward the advertising community, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in its 62nd year, now caters to professionals from across the creative communications industries. These days, public relations professionals receive greater recognition by the organisations that they operate and collaborate with. Because of this and because of the increased integration of communications disciplines, the PR industry is also beginning to receive due representation and recognition at the prestigious Cannes Lions event.

Cannes Lions offers a packed, week-long programme of awards and events including workshops, exhibitions, screenings, masterclasses and seminars. Sam Lythgoe, MD at Hill+Knowlton Strategies, says, “The Cannes Lions Festival is unique because it goes beyond being just an awards show, it builds a community for a whole week that allows creativity to be shared between people from all kinds of backgrounds who ultimately share the same goal.” The festival is truly global with over 13,500 delegates attending from around 90 different countries.

Cannes_Lions2.jpegFor some, the networking opportunities available are the main draw, and around a third of those in attendance don’t actually go along to the scheduled talks. The event allows industry leaders from brands and agencies around the world to meet and share ideas. David Gallagher, CEO at Ketchum Europe and ICCO president, says, “Some come to be inspired, others to network. For me it’s a little bit of both, plus an opportunity to peek at great work from other disciplines and agencies.”

This year delegates are looking forward to the inaugural Glass Lion award. The award recognises work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice. The winning campaign should represent a shift towards more positive, progressive and gender-aware communications. Lauren Crampsie, worldwide chief marketing officer at Ogilvy & Mather, says, “I am most looking forward to the inaugural Glass Lion award, which I hope will eventually broaden its focus from gender inequality to all cultural injustices we face as a society. Marketers have a responsibility now, more than ever, to lead the charge for global change.” In its launch year, the Glass Lion category has received 166 entries.

Also new this year is the Lions Innovation Festival, a two-day event which will explore data and technology as catalysts for creativity. Fenot Tekle, senior corporate communications manager at LinkedIn, says, “This year, I’m expecting to hear about the intersection of technology and creativity. At LinkedIn, we consider this the core of our own business, so we’re excited to learn about how others in the industry are thinking about it.”

Cannes_Lions3.jpgAt this year’s Cannes Lions, the best place to network will be on the new Official Cannes Lions Beach, directly opposite the renowned Carlton Hotel. In the morning, delegates will be able to hear the CMOs of major global brands in conversation with the Economist, and at five o’clock in the evening, ‘Meet the Winners’ sessions will take place. Cannes sponsor, ICCO, will, for the first time, act as a host and convener for the PR and communications community at its House of PR on the beachfront.

ICCO will also be sponsoring the Young Lions PR Competition for the second time this year. The competition sees teams of young PR professionals briefed by a charity or non-profit organisation acting as the ‘client.’ The entries are judged and winners will receive tickets to next year’s Cannes Lions as well as the invaluable exposure that the festival provides.

The Cannes Lions programme covers a wide range of topics. The highlights for PR professionals will depend on the sector they operate in, whether their clients are mostly B2B or B2C, and other factors, however, a yearly favourite is the Saatchi & Saatchi presentation, which surprised people last year with heart rate monitors and a screening of hugely creative video content. The event, which celebrates new directing talent, is celebrating its 25th year at the festival.

Cannes_Lions4.jpgCannes Lions also has its fair share of celebrity speakers with this year’s line-up including Pharrell Williams on ‘creativity through collaboration,’ David Guetta on ‘authenticity and influence through celebrity endorsements’ and Marilyn Manson at the ninth annual Grey Music Seminar. These talks add to the glitz and the glamour of the event which takes place in a part of France that has long been associated with celebrity and luxury.

Many of the PR agencies in attendance will contribute to the packed festival schedule by hosting their own talks and panels, and many more have entered into at least one of the 17 Cannes Lions awards categories and will be hoping to take home a prestigious Lion trophy. Ketchum, the most awarded PR agency at Cannes, has entered 23 projects this year. It is also hosting three different sessions, including the Young Lions Marketers Competition, where some of the globe’s best young talent will compete to develop a creative brief for a worldwide charity.

Across Cannes Lions, Lions Health and Lions Innovation, the prestigious awards have received more than 40,000 entries. At the festival, entries are judged by over 300 creative leaders before winners are awarded in five separate ceremonys. Shortlisted work is showcased in exhibitions and screenings for the duration of the event. A Cannes Lions trophy is a symbol of quality around the world and in every creative industry.

Cannes_Lions5.jpgThe main Cannes Lion festival is preceded by Lions Health on 19-20 June, it is a mini festival, launched in 2014, that is exclusively for the healthcare and pharmaceutical industry. The event was introduced to give due recognition to the previously overlooked health sector, an area with a wide range of unique communications challenges and one where strong creative strategy has the power to change lives. The inaugural Lions Innovation mini-festival will run on 25-26 June, overlapping with the main festival which runs from 21-27 June.

Each brand will come to Cannes Lions with separate motives and ideas about what it wants to take away from the event, whether it’s making new connections, learning from peers or gaining recognition for good work. The breadth of the festival programme and the variety of attendees offers a veritable feast for those that are passionate about communications.

Lythgoe says, “Apart from the great opportunity to be inspired by the work, the events and the people there. Cannes offers the chance for PR pros to be included in the conversation with the ‘traditional’ creative agencies – to be celebrated for the creativity that we also produce. But we’re still the new kids on the block, and need to do a better job of selling the idea, versus the execution.”

While PR at Cannes Lions remains largely overshadowed by advertising behemoths, the growing inclusion of PR professionals contributes to the strength of the event as it embraces more creative disciplines. As communications becomes more integrated in the post-digital age, there is less need to differentiate between disciplines. It is far more lucrative to celebrate outstanding, innovative work that achieves what it sets out to, whatever shape the creative process behind it takes.

Karen Strauss, partner and chief strategy officer at Ketchum, says, “The Cannes Lions Festival is the purest celebration of great ideas. No other marketing services gathering honours the blurring of the lines between disciplines like Cannes, with the most original work rising to the top.” This year’s event will offer some new attractions, but overall the principle intention is the same as ever; to exhibit and share the world’s most extraordinary creative work.


Article extracted from Communicate Magazine.

Getting ready for your first Cannes Lions?

by Gabriela Lungu, integrated creative director & Cannes Lions veteran

gabriela lungu




Congratulations! Your firm is sending you to Cannes Lions!  It’s the most important International Festival of Creativity for the Marcom industry, so you should be very proud that you were chosen (the pass for the festival, plus the transport, the accommodation and other expenses, are quite a significant investment for any company; and yours is investing in you!).

The best thing to do now is to make the most out of this awesome experience. But the truth is that going to Cannes Lions for the first time can be quite intimidating.

This is no small event. It’s one who practically takes over an entire city for a full week. Huge main venue, and many other smaller ones. 12,000 people attending. Lots of things, all very interesting, happening in parallel. Amazing superstars, from the industry and beyond, to see and meet at the different gatherings – some official and some not so official. And all the temptations of the French Riviera at walking distance. What to choose? How to make sure you’re not missing out?

As a Cannes Lions veteran, I’m asked lots of questions every year.

Here are my top 7 tips:

  1. Download the official Cannes Lions App. This app is your best friend. Read what’s happening at this year’s edition and start planning. Decide who you want to see, where you want to go and put together a personalized agenda. Make a plan A, but also a plan B. You’ll have to be flexible to fully enjoy the week
  2. When you get there, take the official “HOW TO CANNES DAILY TOUR” to find your way around the Festival’s main venue, Le Palais des Festivals. After you know your Grand Audi from your Debussy, you’ll instantly feel more confident.
  3. From the Palais, take a walk on the Croisette and maybe even a little sightseeing tour around Cannes. Remember where the biggest hotels (especially Majestic, Carlton and Martinez) and the beaches are. Many events, especially the evening ones, are happening outside the Palais, in one of these locations.
  4. Keep in mind that you’ll be one of the 12,000 people who come to be inspired at Cannes Lions. If a seminar sounds very interesting to you, chances are the other 11,999 people will think the same. If you really want to be in the same room with an inspiring speaker, make sure you are in that room really early (with 2-3 hours in advance) and you don’t leave it. Not even for bathroom breaks.
  5. If you can’t get in for one of the big seminars, don’t be disappointed. Go to a workshop instead. Many times, the most valuable and practical information are shared in the smaller sessions.
  6. Go to the parties you’re invited to. There are amazing networking opportunities. Go to the after-parties too; there are many planned and unplanned ones all over the city. Enjoy the rosé (they call it ‘the Festival’s water’). But make sure you’re up and running again early in the morning. There must be parties all the time where you’re coming from; but there’s only one Cannes Lions Festival every year.
  7. Go to The House of PR (Grand Palais Beach, Cabana 11), a fun and comfortable meeting space for the PR community. Get involved with the scheduled activities from Monday 22nd June to Wednesday 24th June, from 9am till 6pm. Throughout the festival the House of PR will play host to interviews, live streaming and much more. Look out for the live updates – twitter: @ICCOpr, #WELOVEPR.

Of course, the most important thing is to… relax. If you ever feel confused, remember that even the smug veterans had their first Cannes Lions once. Enjoy it to the maximum, let yourself be inspired, and then share this inspiration with your colleagues back home.

See you there!


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