Mentorship at Cannes

The University of Georgia offers its students the opportunity to participate in its “Cannes Lions Advertising Study Abroad Program,” which provides two academic courses centered on the famed Cannes Lions Advertising Festival.

Through this program, students have an opportunity to expand their global perspective and participate in an international advertising and media event. For one week each June, the Lions festival at Cannes is home to the major players in the international advertising and marketing communication community.

This year, Susan Manber, Chief Planning Officer, North America, had a mentee through the program and she writes about the experience below.


It was a rare pleasure to share the experience of Cannes Lions Health and serve as a mentor to a group of students from the University of Georgia.  Each had gone through a rigorous process to be selected for the program and came to Cannes with fresh eyes and interest in becoming the next generation of creative and planning leaders. Walking through the walls of work, it was fascinating to view the creative through their unjaded eyes and discuss the evolution of our business from simple advertising ideas to ideas that can change the world.

One of the highlights of the experience was hearing from the remarkable 17 year old Olivia Hallisey, a Connecticut high school student who was inspired to develop a better test for Ebola that could be administered in 5 minutes without the need for refrigeration. In Hallisey’s session, The Power to Change Lives Is In All of Us, hosted by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness CCO Kathy Delaney, our college students were treated to Olivia’s down-to-earth explanation of how she was inspired by Dr. Brantley’s experience as the first U.S. citizen to be treated for Ebola. Our interns had the chance to meet with her and were incredibly excited at the potential for great thinking at any age.

Among the favorite campaigns submitted to Cannes this year was the “Breathless Choir” campaign from Phillips that ultimately won the Pharma Grand Prix for the inspiring idea of helping people with severe respiratory challenges to sing together at the Apollo Theatre, harnessing the power of breath for joy. The students were also taken by the “Slam Poetry” campaign from our own Publicis Life Brands team in London, which created a powerful rap to help doctors appreciate that a diagnosis without a treatment plan is “not a happy moment.”

In the end, one of the most satisfying elements of the experience was the students’ recognition and growing passion for the power of communications in health and wellness. They walked away excited by the opportunity to make a meaningful impact in people’s lives beyond what may be accomplished in more traditional advertising categories.