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Cannes 2018: Marc Maleh, Creative Data President

Cannes 2018: Marc Maleh, Creative Data President

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

May 1, 2018

“Results pay the bills, creativity inspires us, and when the two work together, you have gold.”

"Call it a humanizing of creative data."

The 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity starts June 18. But before the creative festival kicks off, jurors will review thousands of submissions from around the world.

This year Marc Maleh, global director at Havas X, is the head of the Creative Data Lions jury. In this candid Q&A, Marc predicts how companies will use data in the future, talks about the power of rosé, and explains why case studies should always avoid ad speak.

 

What do you see as the next big trend in how creatives use data to inform their work?

I think the trend last year was all about artificial and machine learning, and I am sure we will see more of that this year—and continue to see more in the coming years.

But we are starting to see a lot of backlash against companies that use advanced techniques with personal data and breaches. I think because of this, we might start to see creative ways in which companies use data in ways that don’t seem as invasive to the end user or that give them more control over their data. Call it a humanizing of creative data.

What do you value most from the Cannes Lions experience?

The best part of Cannes is the vast case studies that juries review. As an industry, we are so caught up in our own bubble that we forget there’s a whole world out there producing amazing work. I spend a lot of time after Cannes compiling case studies from around the world and sharing them with my team so that they can see outside their day-to-day world and get inspired by work.

While living, eating, and breathing advertising for almost a week, at what point does ad fatigue kick in, and is there a remedy?

Is rosé an appropriate answer for a remedy? For me, ad fatigue has yet to sink in as long as I stay inspired. When your mind wanders, and you are no longer engaged, then you get burnt out.

"I am looking for work that goes beyond the advertising world. It should have cultural impact."

What do you think is most important: results or creativity?

Results pay the bills, creativity inspires us and when the two work together you have gold. Which is why I think they are equally important.

What, to you, defines a successful creative idea?

I like seeing work that not only uses data and modern AI systems but also ideas that hinge on them. They have to be ideas that if you were to remove a data set or AI system the whole concept falls apart. I also look at ideas that use the terms correctly. Don’t say you used AI or ML just to sound innovative. We can see through that.

Is there anything in particular you look for when going through submissions?

Juries see thousands of submissions. We need to get hooked in early in reading about it or watching a case study video. Get into details about the experience design and technology but not too deep and make sure you talk about results in a clear way and not in adspeak. I also love hearing about the challenges and process and the way teams worked together.

What’s the best campaign you’ve seen this year?

I really like the Whirlpool Care Counts work—maybe because I am a dad or maybe because it’s an interesting use of fairly simple technology and data with a greater purpose. But who knows.

There is so much work out there that might change in an hour after this interview is finished.

What’s your criteria for a Cannes Gold-winning work?

I am looking for work that goes beyond the advertising world. It should have cultural impact. It should be known to people that know nothing about the advertising industry, not just as a 30-second spot that they’ve seen, but as an experience or product that they’ve used.

Do you have any favorite Cannes memories?

My favorite memory was not actually in Cannes. When I was in my 20s, I had the honor of winning a Lion for my work on Nike, and I remember popping some champagne with coworkers in New York.

"Call it a humanizing of creative data."

The 2018 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity starts June 18. But before the creative festival kicks off, jurors will review thousands of submissions from around the world.

This year Marc Maleh, global director at Havas X, is the head of the Creative Data Lions jury. In this candid Q&A, Marc predicts how companies will use data in the future, talks about the power of rosé, and explains why case studies should always avoid ad speak.

 

What do you see as the next big trend in how creatives use data to inform their work?

I think the trend last year was all about artificial and machine learning, and I am sure we will see more of that this year—and continue to see more in the coming years.

But we are starting to see a lot of backlash against companies that use advanced techniques with personal data and breaches. I think because of this, we might start to see creative ways in which companies use data in ways that don’t seem as invasive to the end user or that give them more control over their data. Call it a humanizing of creative data.

What do you value most from the Cannes Lions experience?

The best part of Cannes is the vast case studies that juries review. As an industry, we are so caught up in our own bubble that we forget there’s a whole world out there producing amazing work. I spend a lot of time after Cannes compiling case studies from around the world and sharing them with my team so that they can see outside their day-to-day world and get inspired by work.

While living, eating, and breathing advertising for almost a week, at what point does ad fatigue kick in, and is there a remedy?

Is rosé an appropriate answer for a remedy? For me, ad fatigue has yet to sink in as long as I stay inspired. When your mind wanders, and you are no longer engaged, then you get burnt out.

"I am looking for work that goes beyond the advertising world. It should have cultural impact."

What do you think is most important: results or creativity?

Results pay the bills, creativity inspires us and when the two work together you have gold. Which is why I think they are equally important.

What, to you, defines a successful creative idea?

I like seeing work that not only uses data and modern AI systems but also ideas that hinge on them. They have to be ideas that if you were to remove a data set or AI system the whole concept falls apart. I also look at ideas that use the terms correctly. Don’t say you used AI or ML just to sound innovative. We can see through that.

Is there anything in particular you look for when going through submissions?

Juries see thousands of submissions. We need to get hooked in early in reading about it or watching a case study video. Get into details about the experience design and technology but not too deep and make sure you talk about results in a clear way and not in adspeak. I also love hearing about the challenges and process and the way teams worked together.

What’s the best campaign you’ve seen this year?

I really like the Whirlpool Care Counts work—maybe because I am a dad or maybe because it’s an interesting use of fairly simple technology and data with a greater purpose. But who knows.

There is so much work out there that might change in an hour after this interview is finished.

What’s your criteria for a Cannes Gold-winning work?

I am looking for work that goes beyond the advertising world. It should have cultural impact. It should be known to people that know nothing about the advertising industry, not just as a 30-second spot that they’ve seen, but as an experience or product that they’ve used.

Do you have any favorite Cannes memories?

My favorite memory was not actually in Cannes. When I was in my 20s, I had the honor of winning a Lion for my work on Nike, and I remember popping some champagne with coworkers in New York.

Sulaiman Beg is Havas' Director of Global Internal Communications. He has never eaten canned tuna fish.

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