Jonty Toosey speaks at Cannes Lions: McCann Health and ‘Fighting for your creative life’
Jun 19 2017
Published on canneslions.com on 17th June 2017
Lions Health kicked off to a packed room over at the Inspiration Stage in the form of a session called ‘Fighting for Your Creative Life’ hosted by global chief creative officer for McCann Health, Jeremy Perrott. We were introduced to two dynamic and mould-breaking creative artists by the name of Mike Massimino, a former NASA astronaut, and Jonty Toosey, a commercial director, to tell us how they worked within the constraints of their industries and fought for their own personal creative lives to bring their childhood dreams to real life accomplishments.
Massimino told his story of fighting to become an astronaut, something he had dreamed of since being a child. After 4 rejection letters from NASA, Massimino finally made it into space. “To complete repairs to the Hubble and keep it going while improving its technology, those were my missions,” he explained, adding that even though it had taken years to get there, he was still expecting someone to knock on the helmet and tell him they’d got it wrong: “we are going to send someone else instead, Mike”
As the audience giggled, Massimino explained this was because as he was growing up, he thought probability of becoming a space man was very unlikely. “There was always the voice in the back of my mind saying ‘that will never happen’,” he said. “But sometimes the biggest doubters are ourselves. It might be nearly impossible but it’s not.”
“The age of misinformation should be called age of ill-information. The system is us."
Next on stage is Toosey, who jumps up to the mic with boundless energy, opens his mouth and spills out the words: “Hello, I’m a liar… I lie for a living.”
He elaborates that these are only white lies, mind, and aren’t malicious but “in the era of post truth, I find myself in the heart of this information epidemic where I stage and manipulate reality”. As a commercial director, he explains it’s the industry that makes him do it, like many do; a caving to make our content engaging and for an audience that has a very short attention span.
“If you see a car crash you have to stop and look, and the internet is interpreting this behaviour and it’s constantly delivering these car crashes to us,” he says, with the audience hooked on every word. “Taking the current internet mechanism and mixing in the badness that’s been fed into it makes a really nasty cocktail.”
Toosey continued that big internet companies are currently trying to deal with this toxicity by regulating.
“We don’t want to see jihadists beheading people or child pornography, so the government has decided they would punish these big companies if they don’t remove it from their platforms. But that’s scary as it means the end of democracy and the internet as we know it – who becomes the arbitrator of truth?”