Cannes Lions officially opened on Monday with serious business – the war in Ukraine.
Chess legend and democracy activist Garry Kasparov has called for
delegates not to let Putin win and help maintain public pressure and push politicians to act to help combat Russian aggression.
Kasparov drew parallels between chess and the politics involved in Ukraine.
“I wish it was a game of chess, because it’s played by rules. Here it’s not about opposing powers and opposing values. We have freedom, life and love against murder, death and hatred and it is not a game of chess because unlike chess, there is no draw or conquest, the outcome of this war is very simple: Either you win or you lose. So let’s fight and therefore, we must win. Glory to Ukraine.
Kasparov, a longtime critic of the Russian president and founder of the Renew Democracy Initiative, said Putin hoped the public would tire of high gasoline prices, but he urged attendees to keep up the pressure.
He also said the allies have been slow to move weapons to Ukraine which is overtaken by Russia ten to one. “We have to react,” he said.
When asked in France whether getting too involved in the Ukrainian war would risk provoking cyberattacks, Kasparov replied that citizens would still wake up to their croissants.
Highlighting the devastation, Kasparov posted a powerful photo of a young girl in a red evening dress photographed against the backdrop of her old school, now a pile of stones.
Kasparov’s busy session included a video message from Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba. “This is what the world needs now – effective and creative ways to portray the issues we face and the world faces,” he said. “Russian propaganda is strong but I firmly believe that your creativity is much stronger.”
The keynote was introduced by CEO of Public Relations, Richard Edelman, who described some of the efforts of the
is already doing – like moving to staff to save locations. Edelman also called on the industry to unite. “Winning back Ukraine is just a dream for now, but it needs to come true. All of us in the marketing community need to come up with ideas and passion.”
Edelman, an influential executive and frequent speaker at the World Economic Forum, said his public relations firm would work with the Ukrainian government to coordinate ideas. He suggested initiatives such as supporting a fact-based media industry and helping train homemakers.
Another idea was to invest in a production center in Kyiv called the “Freedom Center” and provide cause-related marketing funds to support cultural industries. A glimmer of hope, Edelman mentioned that the Odessa opera opened for the first time since the Russian invasion for a production.