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A peace treaty for creative and strategy

Creatives and strategists find a new way work together

In 2016, a peace treaty was struck at Cannes. Led by writer and creative Sam Saunders, working with R/GA's Tom Morton, a series of workshops at Cannes Lions have changed the way these two disciplines work together.

created on Friday 20 Jan 2017

In 2016, Sam wanted to address the elephant in the room at agencies the world over. As he said at the time of the pitching the idea to Festival organisers: “the relationship between creative and strategy is broken and needs to be fixed. Because at the end of the day, clients are buying the product of that relationship.”
"the relationship between creative and strategy is broken and needs to be fixed"
Sam Saunders
Sam’s research indicated an enormous breakdown in communication between creative and strategy that resulted in a shifted perception of what the other wants and should be doing. Speaking after the Festival, Sam explained in more detail: “At the workshops, working with R/GA’s Tom Morton who is SVP of Strategy, we dove deeper into the issues at hand and uncovered more symptoms and the reasons behind them. Then, we did exercises that addressed these symptoms that kick-started the content of the peace treaty.
“The live feedback in the room and on email was extremely positive. People liked that we didn't just talk about the problems but came prepared to offer and discuss some solutions to each of the symptoms. They also seemed to enjoy the exercises, especially the ones that connected people who might not be "friends" per se, but who found, to their surprise, that they'd work brilliantly together from uncovering a raft of shared beliefs about what great creative and strategy should be. 
“Surprisingly to me as the creative, each workshop was about 45/45 percent creative/strategy split, with the rest coming from the client side to learn about our dirty little secret. That we all care equally about the issue was pleasantly surprising.”

Sam and Tom’s workshop produced the peace treaty they were after. Creative and strategy now have a clear (and beautiful) manifesto to guide their relationship, and here it is – complete with signatures of those who were part of its creation: 

You can download a high res copy of the peace treaty here. Sam Saunders is a writer and creative consultant based in New York, and was a Cannes Lions speaker in 2015 and 2016, where this peace treaty was created. See more fantastic speakers from last year, or discover more about our plans for Cannes Lions 2017 in 'What's On'