Yannick Bollore

Cannes Lions 2023

Holding company chiefs on AI and inclusion: Yannick Bolloré

In the first in a series of interviews with the holding company chiefs ahead of Cannes, Havas' Yannick Bolloré answers questions about the role of both in his business

By Yannick Bolloré

With the Cannes Lions festival about to celebrate its seventieth anniversary, and with pressure from both within and outside holding companies for demonstrable change, we asked the holding company chiefs to talk about the role of diversity - and how AI could impact upon it.

As CEO of Havas, what lessons have you learned about the role of diversity in the success of your business, and the work you do for your clients?

Diversity is paramount to us at Havas, as our business relies on individual talent, vision, and creativity. We would not even exist without all the different backgrounds, cultures, and languages that fill our offices around the world, and work together to achieve better outcomes than they would alone.

We believe it is crucial to include a diversity of voices within our agencies, leveraging different perspectives to constantly push us forward. That is why we are committed to building an inclusive culture where everybody feels they belong, can be themselves and thrive. We have made it a priority to increase the diversity of our teams and ensure that inclusive thinking is at every stage of the strategy ideation process so that perspectives are integrated from the beginning to the end, to inform how the work gets created.

We also help brands better engage with their communities through authentic messages and experiences, by using the power of our creative ideas to drive meaningful change in the world we live in. Our recent campaigns “Me, my autism and I” for Vanish, which aims at giving a voice to young girls with autism, and “Paris Anne de Gaulle airport”, raising the visibility of disability in our society, are great examples of this ambition.

Critics say that AI is already reinforcing and exacerbating many challenges already faced by society, such as bias, discrimination and misinformation. How do you think this is going to impact the use of AI in advertising and marketing?

The development of generative AI is a revolution and there is no doubt that AI will play an increasingly important role in our industry. While exploring its fast-growing potential and using it as a source of inspiration and acceleration for all our areas of expertise, it is crucial for us to be very cautious about its legal implications, as well as its limitations in terms of inconsistencies, inaccuracies, and inherent biases.

It is our collective role and responsibility to focus on how AI can assist us and our creative minds in the development of our work, not the other way around, and continue making a meaningful difference to society as a whole.


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