Cannes Lions 2017: ‘Together We Cannes’ Winner Champions Diversity and Inclusion

Four years ago Arthur Zambone quit Twitter with a bold prediction:

“This is a farewell. I will come back when I am an advertising professional,” he wrote.

Zambone, now 22 and an assistant copywriter at BETC Havas São Paulo, discovered the prophetic tweet earlier this week as he prepped for his first trip to the 2017 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity—the event for advertising professionals around the world.

The Brazil native is headed to the South of France as winner of Havas’ “Together We Cannes,” an internal competition that encourages employees across the network to team up with another employee—who they don’t normally work with—and make something uniquely creative together. The prize: a trip to Cannes Lions.

Working alongside Leonardo Belquiman, who has since left the agency, the pair pitched “Safe&Sound” an app that uses a Yelp-like evaluation system to not only map out safe spaces for members of the LGBTQA+ community, but also identify businesses that do not promote diversity and inclusion.

“The concept of the app is more than to be accepted, but respected,” Zambone said.

The Mag caught up with Zambone recently to talk about “Safe&Sound,” how he’s prepping for his trip to Cannes, and the importance of trusting your own madness.

 

What inspired you to come up with “Safe&Sound,” and what problems were you trying to solve?

First and foremost, I’d like to thank everyone who contributed to the making of this project. Especially [Social Media Coordinator] Leonardo Belquiman, [Assistant Art Director] Eric Fernando, [Strategist] Denis Paulo and [Assistant Art Director] Leandro Oliveira—people who truly understand the meaning of “better together.”

The idea behind “Safe&Sound” came from what’s happening in our world today and how those who identify as LGBTQA+ constantly have to fight obstacles at every moment. We developed the app as an answer to this constant intolerance. For example, have you ever thought about what it means to wake up to an intolerant, perhaps hostile, society? Living through something like what happened at the Pulse club in Orlando, Florida? Turning on the TV and listening to multiple LGBTQA+-phobic speeches coming from political figures? It’s very sad and unacceptable. The inspiration came from a desire to change things. “Safe&Sound” was developed to aid the LGBTQA+ community in its quest to find safe spaces and recommend places according to experiences they’ve had in those places.

How did this contest push you to do things outside of your normal duties?

The agency works in ways that we all know well: a lot of running around, many assignments and experiences that turn us into restless professionals. What I find important to point out in this journey is that diversity in an agency makes a huge difference for the conception of a project. Internally, the idea had a very positive reception and made people open their eyes and minds to the themes presented by “Safe&Sound.” It was extremely gratifying and special to see people at Havas getting so excited over an idea of mine. It’s an indescribable feeling that inspires me to create beyond what I’m assigned.

What have you learned so far by participating in—and winning—“Together We Cannes?”

It sounds cliché, but I learned in a very positive way, to believe in my work. It’s crazy to think that something that came out of a Word document reached so many people and is now taking me to Cannes. This taught me to believe in myself more and to listen to my own thoughts more. Maybe this is the way to discover better insights: trust in my own madness. The time is always now, you know?

How are you preparing for Cannes?

It’s overwhelming to think I’ll be at Cannes within a few days. I always catch myself reading up on things I can’t miss at Cannes and the variety of subjects covered and discussed at the event. My preparation process has consisted mainly of reading up on how the festival influences the area of communications and talking to people who have been to Cannes Lions. Lately, it’s been a constant topic of conversation for me.

What do you hope to get out of the festival?

I hope to return inspired and with a more open-minded, professional vision. You know when you live an experience so intense that you end up taking a bit of it through every one of your life experiences? I hope to share ideas with people who possibly wouldn’t be a part of my life had it not been for the festival. I want to be impressed and make it so Cannes guides me to better moments. They say the best of the city needs to be discovered, so lets explore. Besides that, I want to find the pieces that will bring Safe&Sound to life, because the desire to develop the app is ever growing.

What’s on your Cannes agenda?

Since it’s my first time at the festival, I feel the need to embrace the entire lineup, even though I know that’s impossible. I won’t miss the “How to Cannes Tour” in order to get myself organized amidst such interesting panels and conversations. Something else that interests me is the Twitter panel about diversity. I don’t want to miss out on conversations about gender, such as “Women and Cinema” about the participation of women in the arts. Another subject that interests me is pop culture, which in my opinion, is responsible for many languages in communication. So I wouldn’t want to miss Halsey’s appearance, as well as “Creating Global Cultural Moments,” and Demi Lovato.

How do you think having this experience so early in your career will benefit you in the long run?

If anyone told me years ago that I’d be at Cannes by 22, I probably wouldn’t have believed them. It’s a very special and crazy moment. I’m sure that this experience will be extremely positive for me and will help me create future pieces with a global mindset, acknowledging that the things I make may have a relevant global impact. Besides, I hope the Arthur of the future doesn’t lose the drive to “create for the world.” That’s something that’s so present in my thoughts right now.

What’s something that you would like to let the seasoned advertising execs know at Cannes?

I would like them to know about the importance of the ideas committed to the expression of and conversation about gender and sexuality. They have great potential and can really change people’s lives. Nowadays we see a lot of ideas branching from this same inspiration and as much as it’s still something that’s been thoroughly discussed, we still live through many problematic situations outside the bubble of advertising. For example, just think about how many transgender people are involved in your daily life. Where are these people? Are they being hired in big agencies or are they being marginalized? We need to pay attention to these issues so solutions to these problems don’t seem “cool” and “modern,” but actually to make people think and have them become more empathic.

What do you hope to bring back to your teams after Cannes?

Besides macarons? I expect to come back with stories to tell and new work dynamics to introduce. You know when you sit down with people from your team over coffee and you have things to say? I hope to come back as someone responsible for this kind of moment to inspire small changes in people who work with me. I believe this will be the most valuable takeaway from the trip: to show that Cannes—and many other wonderful places—is waiting for people who believe in a greater good. 

Are you nervous?

Yes. Every day. But it’s a good kind of nervous. I think all good things in our lives bring about this kind of sensation. My worry comes from the desire to live this moment the best way possible and to learn a lot along the ride. I’m nervous because I want to see things I’ll never forget, get in touch with other people’s ideas and breathe new life into “Safe&Sound.”

What’s something unique about you that you want everyone to know?

I think that something unique about me is my desire to make things happen. I’m the kind of person who wakes up and goes to sleep thinking about communication; someone who fills up his smartphone notes; someone who writes things down on his hand; and who photographs everything. I really love anything that leads to an idea. This makes me feel useful. I think that’s something I want everyone to know about me: I’m in love with creating.

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