There can be a fear culture around risk in creative agencies, and sometimes it’s justified:
Trevor started his session by sharing his own disappointments in the industry. As if we were sat having coffee, Trevor candidly shared the highs and lows of his career in losing clients and then reinventing himself through his own agency, Quietstorm. There were then a flood of stellar quotes and lessons to be learnt with back-to-back examples of hilarious ads, some a little dark.
‘"Dark stuff entertains me. I’m not really sure why. I think it’s because it challenges me… people can find humour in the darkest of things and in some ways I shouldn’t be in advertising as my sense of humour isn’t populistic, but it sometimes works."
Through watching the film ‘Irreversible’, which he said was ‘horrifically shot’, Trevor said the film director laid down a gauntlet for him to create work that pushes boundaries and in doing so lives on in peoples’ minds forever.
Not being understood was a theme that was closely linked to bravery in the session. "If you can’t get past the client you’re in a lot of trouble. Today, you have to use everything at your disposal to get it out there – you have to put yourself on the line, get into their heads and get them to understand what you see."
But not understanding others was an even more important lesson for Trevor to learn: "Just because you think you’ve got great ideas, it doesn’t mean you don’t have to have an open-mind and appreciate things that aren’t to your own taste." He gave examples of campaigns that made him "feel sick to the stomach" because they were so pivotal, ‘but it’s something to strive for, that type of creativity’ he then said.
He concluded; "what creatives really have to understand is how to recognise a great idea, to understand what it takes and be able to deal with failure – people might not like what you do."
Talks and work from Cannes Lions 2017 will be available on the Cannes Lions Player.