Are You Really a Creative?: Why the Creative Generation Needs to Pay Attention to Cannes Lions (and Our Favorite Creative Winners from this Year)

-Joe Pitts (@headtowall)

The Creative Generation is in full swing. Thanks to the millennial desire for expressing creative visions in an emboldened do-it-yourself style—in addition to technological advances leveling the playing field for creatives of all types—we are witnessing a generational movement towards peak creative expression.

In Philadelphia the creativity community is trending for sure. First Friday lineups are packed with art shows and exhibitions throughout the city for art lovers of all types. The city’s punk/indie/rock, hip-hop and electronic scenes are thriving. Damn near everyone and their mom are looking to hop on the curator/party promoter train. With these heightened ambitions, creative partnerships are being forged across socio-economic and cultural lines that would have never been imaginable in Philly’s stale entertainment industry climate of even a couple of years ago. 

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. For all the excitement the creative community has the ability to instill into the fabric of Philly’s various social scenes and circles, we should all ask ourselves an important question: am I really being creative? Can I really consider myself a creative? What does it mean to be truly creative?

Modern artistic movements like Philly’s current cultural wave have brought about an increased tendency for individuals of all types to refer to themselves as creatives. All people possess the ability to be creative: to imagine the unimaginable, foresee the unforeseeable, to produce original works and ideas that have never before realized. But we must be careful when throwing around the “creative” term. Picking up a camera, a paintbrush, or a microphone does not make you creative. What makes one creative is the ability to push boundaries and bring something new to the table. If you’re jocking someone’s artistic style, lyrical flow, or photographic aesthetic in the production of your work, you are not being creative. You’re merely reproducing something that already exists in the world. People see something they aspire to be like on the internet, and the copy it with a spin on it and stamp themselves with a self-congratulatory “creative” label. To be truly creative, one must do something that has never been done before. It’s that simple: bring something new to the table! Creativity is nothing more, nothing less. 

We should be critical of what it means to be truly creative and ensure that we are pushing ourselves and each other to ensure maximum creative output. With that said, this post is the first in a series of Cult Classic features focusing on creativity and today we will be looking at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity currently winding down right now in Cannes, France. The Cannes Lions International Fesival of Creativity is “is a global event for those working in the creative communications, advertising and related fields. It is considered the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals, designers, digital innovators and marketers.”

To get a sense of what others around the world are doing to truly push the boundaries of creativity, we should take a look at this year’s Lions winners. Submissions for creative awards fall under various categories including: Film Film Craft, Media, Press, Outdoor, Cyber, Promo & Activation, Direct, Design, Radio, Mobile, Branded Content & Entertainment, PR, Creative Effectives, and more.

Now these awards showcase how industry leaders are pushing the boundaries of creativity particularly in advertising, but we feel their creative excellence transcends any one discipline and can be applied to all creative industries. These guys are truly doing unique things in the realm of creative advertising and branding. We would all do well to be a little more hip to the innovators around us like the Cannes Lions winners featured below. Hopefully their creative ideas push you to be more imaginative in your own creative endeavors. Here are some of our favorites from this year’s awards: