The second day of the festival began to pick up a little more. I started with a particularly interesting talk by the CEO and founder of BrandOpus, Nir Wgrzyn, alongside acclaimed artist Ori Gersht about how perception, not fact, creates reality. They argued that belief, not facts, shape our thoughts and that because images create reality as perceived by the viewer, will, not facts, is the key to creativity. Following this mindset, brand image cannot be seen as merely promoting the product because the image and the content are one. Its for this reason that people believe so whole heartedly in some brands or not others. People don't usually buy Coke instead of Pepsi because they actually care that much about the taste, they buy Coke because of the thoughts and feelings they associate through the brand. Coke's success as a brand has nothing to do with the way it tastes, its all about their carefully curated brand. This applies to almost every different product industry. It's the reason people want to wear something that has a particular logo. A company's brand image is everything, which is exciting for people like me who want to work in branding because it means that our jobs and skills are important and necessary. It was especially nice to hear that an artist was contributing so much to this discussion about brand image. Generally in the fine art world, attempting to talk about advertising or consumerism is like walking through a minefield. People call artists with interests like mine "sellouts." Just a few weeks ago in my class in New York, I got into an argument with my art history professor about the importance of branding. She said branding was a horrible idea and that you should never brand yourself because you're limiting your potential. I more or less told her I thought she was wrong, and ended up with a B in the class conduct category of my grade. But sharing my opinion was important to me, and I found a sort of camaraderie with Ori Gersht.
Next we had the opportunity to have a Q&A session with some young representatives from Publicis alongside their CEO. Each person talked briefly about their position and their path which was helpful as I'm in the midst of figuring out what to do first when I graduate. Prior to the festival, I really did not understand what Health Lions was. But this discussion opened my eyes to it a little bit more. Its just like any other agency, full of creativity and savvy ads, its just health themes and focused on helping people. The Publicis reps said that their jobs were about bringing all sorts of different talents together in meaningful and interesting ways. Afterwards, I went up and introduced myself to several of the speakers. One was a graphic designer and so his insight was particularly beneficial. He gave the few of us hurled around him tips about building a portfolio and presenting your creative abilities well. This was the first of many conversations of the week that would motivate me to work extra hard on my portfolio this year.
We ventured up to the Forum and hear a particularly raunchy and entertaining talk by Cindy Gallop, Sam Gomez, and Mabin Azar called Foresight Meets Foreplay about how consumers' sex lives are just as important in strategic research as anything else about them. I'd never really thought of it that way but it was a very interesting point of view. Cindy urged us millennial to engage in conversations about sex openly in an attempt to establish it as less of a taboo and build it into normal social conversation as it pertains to advertising in particular.
After the festival, I ate dinner in a cute restaurant in Cannes called New York, New York with Lacey and Sam where I got a massive fried chicken salad and a fun drink called a Pink Floyd. Its nice to be able to chat with friends at the end of the day and exchange opinions about what we heard and how it made us feel or changed our opinions.