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TCO takes to the stage at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity


Last week the TCO team visited Cannes Lions, the world’s leading festival of creativity, to host our “Beyond Brand Purpose: The Future of Brand Activism” panel.

Hosted by Head of Insight Helen Job, the panel explored how brands should be using their force for good with Jessie Macneil-Brown Head of Brand Activism at The Body Shop, Pascal van Ham Head of Marketing at Tony's Chocolonely, and Dorothy Shaver, Global Sustainability Lead at Knorr Unilever.

The talk was oversubscribed with 300 international guests attending the session, and many more viewing on screens outside the venue. The conversation covered how brands need to be partnering with specialists to truly create meaningful impact, why we need to be open to sharing our secret ingredients to achieving a more sustainable practice and the realisation that followers may come and go during activism activity, but we must remember why we started the mission.

Watch our highlight video for the full recap and continue reading for our favourite insights:

When asked why the Body Shop had moved from animal activism into women’s rights Jessie explained: “I led a work stream asking what does activism really mean for the Body Shop and it sparked a debate internally, if we’re an activist brand, are we a feminist brand? This was a really interesting debate, and when you hear from World Bank that we have mass gender inequality and it’s going to take 200 years to even that out, that’s when we said this needs to be our focus now. In terms of how we’re going to be credible around this, hopefully all of you know our amazing founder Dame Anita Roddick, she was an incredible feminist and business woman. Everything she did around the business had to do with women’s empowerment and rising gender inequality. So we felt we could step into this space, but more importantly we felt needed to step into this space, our consumers are demanding it of us and our staff our demanding it of us.” - Jessie Macneil-Brown, The Body Shop.

Pascal Van Ham explained how Tony’s mission to change the chocolate industry doesn’t just stop at creating a challenger brand, “Our mission is to change the industry, so we have a road map with three pillars, creating awareness, lead by example and inspire to act. Inspiring to act means being an open source instead of thinking USP. So we created a platform, Tony’s Open Chain, where we share all our knowledge and digital tools to create a transparent supply chain and help to enable farmers to earn a living income. We’re really proud that in November Albert Heijn announced that they are our first mission ally and they source their cocoa for the Delicata brand via Tony’s Open Chain.” - Pascal van Ham Tony's Chocolonely.

And when asked how the development of Knorr’s Future 50 list was going to impact it’s existing consumer group whilst aiming to attract new audiences, Dorothy explained, “We want to lead this conversation as opposed to just being part of it, and just like any other phase of activism, we are going to go through a phase of people dropping out, people staying with us, people leaving and people joining, and we expect this to happen. With this work we are going to change the perception of the brand to be a forward thinking brand. Last week I met with 250 chefs from Chef’s Manifesto to work with them on different ways to create these foods in a way that people will love eat them, because you can put any foods on a plate or any foods in the store but if we don’t create that demand by making them taste good, they’re absolutely not going to be foods people eat in the long term. We’re on a journey to build a different type of a brand that really stands forward in a world where we’re not getting the foods we need.”

If you are interested in reading more insights from global brand leaders and gaining access to our report - Beyond Brand Purpose: The Future of Brand Activism please contact with your name and company details.