Cannes Lions opened officially on Monday with serious business – the war in Ukraine.
Garry Kasparov at Cannes Lions 2022
Chess legend and democracy campaigner Garry Kasparov delivered a plea to
delegates not to let Putin win, to help keep public pressure alive, and to push politicians act to fight Russian aggression.
Kasparov drew parallels between chess and the politics involved in Ukraine.
“I wish it would be a game of chess, because that is played by rules. Here it’s not opposite powers and opposite values. We have freedom, life, and love versus killing, death, and hatred — and this is not chess because unlike chess there is no draw or conquest. The outcome of this war is very simple: You either win or lose. So let us fight and so, we must win. Glory to Ukraine.”
Kasparov, a longtime critic of the Russian president and the founder of Renew Democracy Initiative, said Putin is hoping the public will grow tired of high gas prices. Kasparov urged attendees to keep up the pressure.
He also said that allies have been slow to move weapons to the Ukraine, which is outgunned by Russia, 10 to one. “We have to respond,” he said.
When asked in France about whether getting too involved in the Ukrainian war risked provoking cyber attacks, Kasparov responded that citizens would still wake up to their croissants.
Underscoring the devastation, Kasparov displayed a powerful photo of a young girl in a red evening dress standing against the backdrop of her former school, now a heap of stones.
Kasparov’s packed session included a video message from the Ukrainian Foreign Minister, Dmytro Kuleba. “This is what the world needs now — effective and creative ways to describe the problems we are facing and the entire world is facing,” Kuleba said. “Russian propaganda is strong but I firmly believe that your creativity is much stronger.”
The keynote was introduced by PR CEO Richard Edelman, who described some of the efforts the
is already making — such as moving to staff to safe locations. Edelman also made a call for the industry to unite. “Regain the Ukraine is just a dream so far, but it has to come true. All of us in the marketing community need to come forward with ideas and passion.”
Edelman, an influential executive and frequent speaker at the World Economic Forum, said his PR agency would work with the Ukrainian government to coordinate ideas. He suggested initiatives such as supporting a fact-based media industry and helping to train women left at home.
Another idea was to invest in a production hub in Kyiv called the “Freedom Center” and to provide cause-related marketing funds to support the cultural industries.
Highlighting one ray of hope, Edelman mentioned that the Odessa Opera House had opened for the first time since the Russian invasion for a production.