Thousands of top notch creative people at the Cannes Lions Festival. The crème de la crème of the advertising, public relations and communications industry. Sessions on nice podia, given by the world’s most confident client-facing people. A delight to attend this #canneslions thing and watch.
This year it seems to be about content. The power of the community. Crowdsourcing. Co-creation. Creative storytelling. Message delivery platforms. The power of change and integration. Concepts and words skillfully used, like how Jedi knights wield their light sabers.
Still, in walks an old man, with a handsome, weathered face. Born in 1936, a high school drop out. A backpack adventurer who’s seen hunger, cold, and endless routes under his sore feet. In walks Robert Redford.
He still has the sparkling eyes of his Sundance Kid days and more charisma than is good for the rest of the presenters. Robert Redford has a presence. He does not present, he is. Dressed in faded jeans and sporting casual moccasins, he talks and smiles and reflects. Robert Redford enchants the audience.
And teaches many in the audience (me included) some lessons, shot right at the heart, from the hip. Lessons about authenticity, being real, true and transparent. About how you earn respect and trust by being true to your word. How the way to success is long and thorny. How you only get to the top by taking risks. How taking risks will make you fail. How failing will make you learn. How vision comes from the heart, not the head, and how stubbornness gets more done than eternal reflection. How life is more than work, nature better than art and how experience mellows even the most rebel soul. How even thinking that winning or losing does not matter is so wrong…as life only deals with winners.
Robert Redford was as credible as it gets. As big as the theater. As sharp as a knife.
Robert Redford still knows how to tell a story. If we had ever forgotten, he reminded us.