@Cannes2016: Breaking norms

27 Jun,2016

By A Correspondent


“Creativity is the greatest rebellion in existence.” This is what brands can learn from ‘the rebels’ in their industry. The rebels are the rebel heroes of the internet who are refusing to join the norm and capturing our imagination as a result. Most brands seek to fit in with the norms of social channels, rather than challenge them. To discuss about the rebels and rebellion, DigitasLBi hosted a session with the theme ‘The Future is Rebellion’. The speakers were Ari Seth Cohen, Founder, Advanced Style,Amani Al-Khatahtbeh, Founder of the blog Muslim Girl and Chris Clarke, Chief Creative Officer International DigitasLBi.


Clarke praised the emergence of social media due to the content it provides us but also pointed out the homogeneity of content that it is leading to. “We, as an organisation, think that it is really important to look at unusual places for ideas, unusual talent to collaborate with. It is always a problem if you start following the same pattern and thinking,” he said. According to Clarke, we all should try harder and look deeper to bring more unusual perspectives to our work and challenge clients to be different. “Our job is to create differentiation for brands and yet often we are following rather than leading,” said Clarke.


When Khatahtbeh took the stage, she made the audience do a little exercise, since she noticed that most of them were on their phones. She asked them to open their favourite internet browser and then go to Google images and type ‘Muslim Women’. She referred to a representative search result. “It is a very bleak picture. It is an entire page of faceless women hidden behind veils with only their eyes showing. It is a very one dimensional image of Muslim women. These are not only there in the internet but in our media as well,” said the blogger. This is what inspired her to create her blog when she was 17-years-old.


“I could not find any issues that are particularly relevant to Muslim women, especially young woman like me who grew up in the post 9/11 era,” she continued. The blog started creating feminist theories around women in their community and took a self-analysing path to find out what was it like to be a Muslim woman in this era. She spoke about the just finished web series they did for Teen Vogue called ‘Ask a Muslim girl’. The web series will deal with the misconceptions about Muslim women. She concluded by saying that they have now found a voice that is being heard globally.


Advanced Style is a website that focuses on fashion for elderly people. Cohen was fascinated by his grandmother and that is what led him to start Advanced Style. “Women with great style and spirit who challenge the notion that you decline and give up as you grow older,” said Cohen about his love for old people. His grandmother introduced him to photography, culture and old films. For Cohen, “I really had this idea of aging at a very young age. As you get older you become wiser and interesting. When I was eight, I made my first book of drawing which was a book of older women like my grandmother,” that was the beginning of his inspiration.


Cohen did not understand this whole idea of marketing about anti-aging. He wanted to show the pictures of the women he collected, who aged gracefully and were truly inspirational. That is why he started interviewing these women and putting them in his blog and this project went viral. “Younger women started writing to me that they no longer fear ageing,” he said. His work has been appreciated globally for starting a movement in the fashion industry.


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