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Brewing unity in divisive times

The first day of Cannes Lions kicks off with a discussion on the complexities of navigating a polarized world and the role creativity can play to promote unity.

In a world where the boundaries of marketing are constantly tested and societal divisions seem more pronounced than ever, select brands remind us of the power of creativity to reshape our collective narrative.

Named Marketer of the Year for an unheard of two years in a row, brewer Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) kicked off the festival by admitting what they do is not about the beer, it’s about bringing people together.

Anheuser-Busch (ABInBev) is a values-driven company, which has faced challenges in such divisive times. The situation involving Bud Light, which centred around transgender activist Dylan Mulvaney and triggered nationwide backlash, served as a wake-up call for marketers. Like many brands, ABInBev seeks to understand its customers and promote unity rather than polarization. However, this pursuit is proving more challenging in today’s landscape.

Nevertheless, there is no doubt that ABInBev is a brand that comprehends—and excels in—the power of creativity. The organization instills a culture of creativity from the ground up, ensuring a shared language among its entire team. They establish and define their own standard of excellence, which is rare, and it is reflected in the multitude of Lions they win and their subsequent organic brand growth.

As a Creative Director, I bring you my favourite Cannes quotes of the day (or perhaps of all time): “My agency partners are our Justice League. They are superheroes, conjuring magic every day” and “Creativity drives growth.” Thank you, ABInBev.

On a less favourable note, my least favourite quote was: “We, like everyone else, were looking for an anti-media idea.”

Karen Howe

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Cannes Lions

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