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Is Cannes Chimera a challenge that can change the world?

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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.

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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.

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About the author

Simon Mainwaring is founder/CEO of We First, a strategic consultancy accelerating growth and impact for purpose-driven brands. He’s a member of the Steering Committee of Sustainable Brands, the Advisory Council of Conscious Capitalism LA, the Forbes Business Council and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. Simon is a featured Expert and Jury Member at the Cannes Lions Festival for the Sustainable Development Goals in 2021, host of the ‘Brands With Purpose’ series with Harvard Business School Association of Boston, and his company, We First, is included in Real Leaders list for the Top 100 Impact Companies in the US for 2021

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