View from Cannes: Havas’ Razan Karim

‘‘Brands are moving away from playing it safe

Razan Karim
Senior Communications Director – Consumer PR, Havas Red Middle East

Gone are the days of greenwashing and vague communication on key environmental issues.

Judging entries at the Cannes Lions this year, and listening to peers and insightful talks reinforced my observation that brands are becoming increasingly involved with environmental causes through long-term commitment and measurable changes. 

With creativity at the core of industry change, most successful campaigns resulted in impressive quantitative results  that also inspired competitors to adopt new industry benchmarks and practices within specific sectors, creating a snowball effect on brands. 

It was inspiring to see brands move away from ‘playing it safe’ by taking bolder and often risky stances in the name of social change when it comes to comms on social issues, in an effort to drive meaningful conversation among consumers. 

The brands of tomorrow are less fearful of engaging in what can be perceived as polarising and controversial topics within specific cultural contexts, proving an authentic concern for social change.

An insight that stuck with me is our perception of the role of emotion in award-worthy work.

While there’s always space for heavy-hitting emotional narratives in commercial and purpose-driven work, we often underestimate how effective other emotions such as humour and joy can be when building consumer connection.

In the PR category, jury members were asked to apply a simple but effective formula: “Is the work earned at the core; does this live deep in culture; and did it actually have any impact?” I find these are questions we should continually ask ourselves as PR professionals.

There is a massive opportunity for PR to play a bigger role when it comes to creative campaigns. as it sits at the unique intersection of content, culture and storytelling.

It’s our responsibility as an industry to challenge ourselves and do much more in the creative communications space. 

This article is a part of the view from Cannes series, where regional creatives share their experiences and takeaways from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.

Find the other parts in the View from Cannes series here.