This week I’ve been thrown into the lion’s den for a chat with Philip Thomas, CEO of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

You can’t run the world’s biggest ad festival without knowing quite a bit about the biz – Philip has an interesting perspective on creativity, innovation and the future of the industry.

Plus, he was the MD of FHM in the late 90s, so I asked him about the magazine’s current day demise – he summed it up perfectly.

Philip Thomas

We talked about:
• How a compromising photo of a farmer made FHM famous,
• Trends in the use of content by brands,
• The evolving role of the agency,
• Why all content needs to be authentic,
• Some of the key trends coming out of the advertising industry,
• And why data isn’t a dirty word for creatives anymore.

Philip on…

FHM and the internet:

FHM was based on a very clear proposition that was created before my time when I ran it, which was effectively that everything in it had to be funny, sexy, or useful, every single thing, and that was one of its great successes, that people live that throughout the editorial product. When I read the news about it closing, I was thinking, if you were trying to come up with a description of the internet, funny, sexy and useful would be about as good a description of the internet as you could possibly get.

The entertainment factor:

We need to compare ourselves with films and music, and YouTubers and bloggers who are genuinely creating content that’s engaging, and their challenge to the industry is to say, ‘You’ve got to step it up’

Data’s no longer dirty:

So, research is no longer a dirty word; data is no longer a dirty word for creative people, and the coming together of those groups, and strategy as well, it’s just a very exciting time, I think, for the industry.

People Tell Richard Stuff: Episode 3
Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions

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Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions