Lowe Campbell Ewald brings Detroit to Cannes

unnamed-4Cannes 2014: The Campbell Ewald agency, now of Lowe Campbell Ewald, Lowe & Partners’ US outpost, was founded in Detroit in 1911 and for many years handled the bulk of the General Motors account. It currently handles Cadillac. CCO Mark Simon (left) describes how the agency is trying to help rejuvenate the motor city. Simon will present Detroit:Reboot at the Cannes Lions festival on Friday, June 20.


Despite everything you think you know about Detroit, it’s one of the most fascinating places in the world right now.

There is so much positive change going on. From big businesses to small businesses; from start-ups to spin-offs; from technology to the arts; from the city to the neighbourhoods.

At the beginning of 2014, after nearly four decades in the suburbs, Lowe Campbell Ewald moved our 500 people back to the place where the agency started 103 years ago.

The effect on our organization has been nothing short of transformative.

Some questioned the logic of moving into a city that has declared bankruptcy. Yet, despite the ongoing negotiations that continue between the city and its creditors, people here are doing amazing things. They’re working together to build things, to change things, to breathe life back into the city that we grew up in and for many, the city they adopted.

From a college student who created a coat that turns into a sleeping bag for the homeless, to a Silicon Valley company that relocated here because they saw a greater opportunity. Detroit is a city of innovation, perseverance, creativity and opportunity.

It’s proof that creativity and hard work can conquer all.

That’s the theme of the presentation we’re doing at Cannes Lions at 11am on June 20th entitled “Detroit: Reboot City.” We will show how great ideas can transform our lives, our communities and our cities. Our moderator is Jose Miguel Sokoloff, CCO of Lowe SSP3 Colombia and the President of Lowe and Partners Global Creative Council. Jose Miguel knows a thing or two about how ideas and innovation can stimulate change, as he has done in his homeland with his work to encourage demobilisation of the FARC Guerrillas.

This guy won’t rest until there is peace in Colombia and Detroiters are showing a similar drive, in our case, to return to economic stability – to take our city back.

We will be joined on stage by legendary Detroit DJ and Grammy-nominated producer Carl Craig, who’s made a career of spinning negativity into positivity. Working with Carl on the development of our presentation, we’ve been impressed with his commitment to his home town. After launching a festival to rival that of any in Europe with the Detroit Electronic Music Festival back in 2000, Carl has shifted his focus to even more ambitious goals with the creation of his non-profit 501-C3 Carl Craig Foundation. He partners with other non-profits to set up music scholarships.

In 2010 his Foundation presented a five-day workshop during the Movement Festival at the Detroit School of the Arts, which exposed the students to professionals in sound engineering, music festival production, record/music production and musical performance. He is a creative visionary and has much to share with the Cannes Lions audience about his hopes for the future of Detroit.

We believe the Cannes Lions festival isn’t just about shortlists, galas and winners. It’s a place where agencies and our clients should find inspiration in all its forms. Our presentation features no ads and no campaigns. Instead we will focus on real life stories of creative people who have stuck their necks out to make a difference.

The motto on the Detroit flag says it all: Speramus Meliora; Resurget Cineribus.
“We hope for better things; It shall rise from the ashes.”

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