The Cannes International Festival of Creativity has announced a partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation that is unprecedented and transformative. It brings together two of the most powerful leaders in their respective fields, the private sector comprised of brands, advertising agencies and PR firms for the former, and the foundation, non-profit and NGO space for the latter. The Cannes International Festival of Creativity is the benchmark for creativity by which global marketing is measured, while the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has achieved unprecedented strides in addressing global development, global health and domestic social issues. As such, both shape the thinking and behavior of their entire industries, and that why this partnership is so important.
The Cannes Chimera challenge is simple. As an extension of the Foundation’s Great Challenges for Communications initiative, Cannes Chimera is an open challenge to answer a one sentence brief in two pages – how aid on the ground makes a difference. The ten finalists will receive a $100,000 grant from the Foundation and the support of what can only be described as a dream team of creative minds from the winners at the Festival. The finalists can then apply for a further $1,000,000 grant to make that idea a reality.
This partnership has the potential to transform both industries by raising the profile of social impact work among the world’s leading brands, ad agencies and PR firms at the Festival, and by serving as a powerful demonstration of the importance of effective storytelling and marketing to the non-profit world. Taken together, Cannes Chimera also represents a high profile demonstration of the growing collaboration between for profit and non-profit organizations in order to drive social change through powerful communication, cross–sector collaborations, and concrete action on the ground.
In essence, Cannes Chimera is the very solution we need to meet the scale of the social crises we currently face with equal force. As for profit companies and their marketers become more purposeful, and Foundations, non-profit, and NGOs become better marketers, the opportunity to shape a future that improves the lives of all becomes more real.
As such, there is an onus on all of us to support this competition and encourage those with creative answers to this brief to enter the competition and receive the support they deserve. In doing so, each of us will benefit as we re-shape the conversation between the private and non-profit sectors, opening the way to compelling and sustainable solutions that meet today’s most pressing social challenges.