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Cannes 2019: Juror Takeaways

Cannes 2019: Juror Takeaways

Sulaiman Beg

Sulaiman Beg

July 10, 2019

The festival of creativity may be over, but our jurors have some tips for those thinking of applying next year.

"Keep ideas simple but fresh and effective."

Maybe less is better? When it comes to submitting work, some jurors say it’s best to submit only in the most relevant categories. Below, some of the Havas jurors share takeaways from this year’s jury rooms and look ahead to next year’s festival.

 

What are some of your takeaways from judging in your category?

Antoinette Beatson, Executive Creative Director, BETC Paris | Outdoor Juror: Outdoor is vast; it still includes a small percentage of traditional posters, and the rest is ambient, ie, everything that is literally out-of-home: digital displays, promotional objects, immersive experiences, tech…

I would recommend not entering work in too many categories; this can be counterproductive when you are being judged at midnight after a 16-hour day. Better to enter your work in fewer but more accurately chosen categories. Example: do not enter a project in Special Build and in Standard Sights—that doesn’t work!

However great your case study may be, remember that they all look alike. (This year, they all seemed to start with the same Getty footage of sea plastic pollution.) All the cases have the same Problem/Solution/Results structure. So make sure your problem or insight is real and not post-rationalized, and make sure your solution is problem-solving and long-lasting, not just a PR stunt. Make sure your results are really big and believable. If you have none of the above, then make sure your case is clever, witty, funny and well-crafted, because you can get away with this if you make the jury smile.

The jury I was on was very thorough. We did a lot of background checks. It’s important to send in additional content if it helps to explain placements or context, even if it’s a phone pic. A big no-no is to send mocked-up contextualized outdoor posters.

Valerie Madon, Chairwoman and Chief Creative Officer, Havas Group Singapore | Brand Experience & Activation Juror: Brave work will always be awarded—the kind of ideas that some may think of but thought it was impossible to pull off.

Keep ideas simple but fresh and effective—even if a campaign may have executed over 20 assets, you only need to feature the ones that are central to the idea.

Don’t over-submit—there are a few submissions that were “blanketed” over so many subcategories that judges began to “fall out of love” with the work.

No evident stellar example paved the way for next year, unlike last year, when Apple Today gave us a glimpse of brand experience that raised the bar high for 2019. We were quite disappointed that we didn’t find more cases that were as good or better this year. Most submissions were more activation than brand experience, but we believe there are many great brands who have created amazing experiences but were not submitted.

Laura Florence, Executive Creative Director, Havas Health & You | Pharma Juror: IKEA and ESPN are not personal care, animal care, or pharma brands, but won a Lion in the Health & Wellness category.

What was anticipated happened. Healthiness is now subject to brands from other sectors. Why is that? Simple: because the consumer is determined to live longer and better. Apart from Keith Richards, every human being on this planet is thinking of doing something to be healthier. It’s not just a trend, it’s a shift in reality. And guess what? People expect brands to do this for them, as shown in the research in the HEALTH + DATA: Taking Healthcare to the Next Level Prosumer Report conducted by the Havas Group, which points out that 72% of those interviewed advocate the idea that brands have a responsibility to stimulate healthy habits.

But is healthiness really the biggest trend this year? I’d say that the trend is the expanded concept of healthiness. Living healthier now includes issues like living without stress and prejudice. Ecology, inclusion, diversity, and conscious consumption can already be considered issues related to health. I am very optimistic about this tendency, not only for the impact on people’s lives, but for the communications industry. After all, caring for health means becoming even more involved in the client’s business, as well as expanding the areas of operations of the agencies—especially when you want to transform brands that have not addressed caring for health in such a broad way before.

Jesús Lada, Chief Creative Officer, Havas Spain | Direct Juror: DIRECT IS DIRECT. It’s not a promo or an activation; it’s not a film with a call to action or a great worldwide integrated campaign; it’s not a cool Outdoor or a nice app. It’s direct. In the past, Direct was a “not so clear” category. Any big campaign was entered there as well since the rules weren’t very understandable. We were very strict regarding if a campaign was or wasn’t Direct. And a lot of great work didn’t match this criteria.

Clare Hutchinson, Executive Strategy Director, Havas London | Creative Effectiveness Juror: Effectiveness is very different from all other Cannes categories. Work has already been awarded creatively; this is about establishing whether that creativity actually paid off and made a difference to the bottom line.

Therefore, it is very much about objectivity. Proof. Did the work deliver a return on marketing investment (ROMI)? Did the case study discount other factors? Effectiveness is much more than likes or clicks or hits. And yet many case studies focused too much on soft measures and did not drill down on actual behavioral change.

Which is why as a judging panel we were harsh. Quasiforensic.

And yet there is still room for creativity in this category. A few cases showed flair and creativity in how they measured effectiveness. For example, the Xbox Design Lab Originals “The Franchise Model” looked at ROMI, not just for Xbox, but also for entrepreneurial consumers who were selling and marketing their own Xbox designs.

Augé Reichenberg, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, Havas Health & You | Health & Wellness Juror: Ideas, ideas, ideas. Oh—and can it really help human beings? Or, to quote Steve Jobs: “Make something wonderful and put it out there.”

Olivier Apers, Executive Creative Director, BETC Paris | Film Juror: Today it is no longer about telling cute little stories, but great ones – whether they are fictional or truth – stories that reason in the hearts and minds of people and make the blood rush faster through their veins.

Films have become more “interactive,” more active, and more influential along with the realization that they have an incredible power to engage, convince and call to action for brands or causes.

The monologue is over. The moment a brand or an organization release a film it will get immediately commented on, liked, hated, approved or contested. That’s why films today owe it to themselves to be active!

There was a strong showing this year from brand activism and brands showing a meaningful purpose. How do you think this will impact the industry?

Beatson: It’s going to keep us on our toes. It’s our responsibility to encourage and accompany this movement as long as our brands are sincere and responsible in their change versus just greenwashing. Together, we can accomplish something huge.

Madon: I don’t think this changes the overall business in terms of revenue for agencies, but it opens the door for agencies to flex their creative muscles to work with brands to do something meaningful for society. The onus is now on agencies to educate and guide clients to find the right cause to link with their brand and to commit to making real actions beyond a short-term emotional film, which, sadly, is the bulk of most “purpose” work today.

Florence: Every year, Cannes is always the same, but different. This year, real changes were in the air. Starting with the most diverse jury, less standard, obvious advertisements. The result was reflected in the awarded pieces. Social causes, inclusion, and purpose-driven work was on stage more often. Eighteen Grand Prix winners addressed these issues.

What to think of this? Perhaps it’s an important clue about the new mission of brand communications: helping to fix the world.

Which is not bad at all, huh, guys? After all, we’ve done enough damage. We were responsible for reinforcing various stereotypes. It’s time to redeem ourselves.

Lada: Well, for the past six to eight years, “goodvertising” has been a trend at Cannes. Actually, not only at Cannes, but in advertising festivals worldwide. But now I believe that not everything works; the purpose of the communication has to be authentic. A brand is a brand, not an NGO, so if you do things for the common good, tell me why you are doing it. How this matches your brand purpose, even your product.

But don’t forget, brands still need to sell stuff, and, in our jury, we celebrated when we found a great commercial communication worthy of an award. 

Hutchinson: Purpose is becoming hygiene. Every brand is trying to persuade consumers how they care about the world, about people: every brand is fighting against something. So, soon, what was previously differentiating will be expected. Purpose is at risk of losing its power.

Apers: Brands today must take part in positive change. They have the financial and media power to make a real impact. Brands must be responsible for positive change and must commit to a better world. Respect equality, differences, be advocates for sustainable change and fight against injustice. Each brand has to find their own positive struggle to commit to.

Because today we can and must do business while doing good and participate in a better world. It’s not an option anymore. It’s a necessity.

 

Any predictions for next year?

Beatson: Advertising has taken on a political tone. More and more brands are taking action on social and environmental issues, especially when governments are unwilling or helpless to do so. 

Madon: We have not seen enough great work that leverages AI and voice in ways that really impact people’s lives. So far, it’s been used in creative stunts and superficial commercial executions. I believe we’ll be seeing something different next year as more agencies and clients catch up with these technologies. 

Florence: What should we expect next year? More health. 

Lada: Looks like the next big trend could be “the new man.” After several years of brands (finally) supporting women’s rights, they now have a challenge in how they’ll deal with men. There is an educational role, and they have to be careful about how they approach it. We’ll see.

Reichenberg: AI and AR, not VR. 

Apers: The new Lacoste film will be a very strong contender next year! But, I forgot the name of the agency that made it 😉

Hutchinson: The purpose backlash. In our judging panel, there was an impulse to award business over purpose. So, in a world where consumers are increasingly cynical about brands, we’re going to have to change the record. To find the new brand behavior that will drive challenge and change. What will make a brand meaningful in the post-purpose era?

Let’s find out…

"Keep ideas simple but fresh and effective."

Maybe less is better? When it comes to submitting work, some jurors say it’s best to submit only in the most relevant categories. Below, some of the Havas jurors share takeaways from this year’s jury rooms and look ahead to next year’s festival.

 

What are some of your takeaways from judging in your category?

Antoinette Beatson, Executive Creative Director, BETC Paris | Outdoor Juror: Outdoor is vast; it still includes a small percentage of traditional posters, and the rest is ambient, ie, everything that is literally out-of-home: digital displays, promotional objects, immersive experiences, tech…

I would recommend not entering work in too many categories; this can be counterproductive when you are being judged at midnight after a 16-hour day. Better to enter your work in fewer but more accurately chosen categories. Example: do not enter a project in Special Build and in Standard Sights—that doesn’t work!

However great your case study may be, remember that they all look alike. (This year, they all seemed to start with the same Getty footage of sea plastic pollution.) All the cases have the same Problem/Solution/Results structure. So make sure your problem or insight is real and not post-rationalized, and make sure your solution is problem-solving and long-lasting, not just a PR stunt. Make sure your results are really big and believable. If you have none of the above, then make sure your case is clever, witty, funny and well-crafted, because you can get away with this if you make the jury smile.

The jury I was on was very thorough. We did a lot of background checks. It’s important to send in additional content if it helps to explain placements or context, even if it’s a phone pic. A big no-no is to send mocked-up contextualized outdoor posters.

Valerie Madon, Chairwoman and Chief Creative Officer, Havas Group Singapore | Brand Experience & Activation Juror: Brave work will always be awarded—the kind of ideas that some may think of but thought it was impossible to pull off.

Keep ideas simple but fresh and effective—even if a campaign may have executed over 20 assets, you only need to feature the ones that are central to the idea.

Don’t over-submit—there are a few submissions that were “blanketed” over so many subcategories that judges began to “fall out of love” with the work.

No evident stellar example paved the way for next year, unlike last year, when Apple Today gave us a glimpse of brand experience that raised the bar high for 2019. We were quite disappointed that we didn’t find more cases that were as good or better this year. Most submissions were more activation than brand experience, but we believe there are many great brands who have created amazing experiences but were not submitted.

Laura Florence, Executive Creative Director, Havas Health & You | Pharma Juror: IKEA and ESPN are not personal care, animal care, or pharma brands, but won a Lion in the Health & Wellness category.

What was anticipated happened. Healthiness is now subject to brands from other sectors. Why is that? Simple: because the consumer is determined to live longer and better. Apart from Keith Richards, every human being on this planet is thinking of doing something to be healthier. It’s not just a trend, it’s a shift in reality. And guess what? People expect brands to do this for them, as shown in the research in the HEALTH + DATA: Taking Healthcare to the Next Level Prosumer Report conducted by the Havas Group, which points out that 72% of those interviewed advocate the idea that brands have a responsibility to stimulate healthy habits.

But is healthiness really the biggest trend this year? I’d say that the trend is the expanded concept of healthiness. Living healthier now includes issues like living without stress and prejudice. Ecology, inclusion, diversity, and conscious consumption can already be considered issues related to health. I am very optimistic about this tendency, not only for the impact on people’s lives, but for the communications industry. After all, caring for health means becoming even more involved in the client’s business, as well as expanding the areas of operations of the agencies—especially when you want to transform brands that have not addressed caring for health in such a broad way before.

Jesús Lada, Chief Creative Officer, Havas Spain | Direct Juror: DIRECT IS DIRECT. It’s not a promo or an activation; it’s not a film with a call to action or a great worldwide integrated campaign; it’s not a cool Outdoor or a nice app. It’s direct. In the past, Direct was a “not so clear” category. Any big campaign was entered there as well since the rules weren’t very understandable. We were very strict regarding if a campaign was or wasn’t Direct. And a lot of great work didn’t match this criteria.

Clare Hutchinson, Executive Strategy Director, Havas London | Creative Effectiveness Juror: Effectiveness is very different from all other Cannes categories. Work has already been awarded creatively; this is about establishing whether that creativity actually paid off and made a difference to the bottom line.

Therefore, it is very much about objectivity. Proof. Did the work deliver a return on marketing investment (ROMI)? Did the case study discount other factors? Effectiveness is much more than likes or clicks or hits. And yet many case studies focused too much on soft measures and did not drill down on actual behavioral change.

Which is why as a judging panel we were harsh. Quasiforensic.

And yet there is still room for creativity in this category. A few cases showed flair and creativity in how they measured effectiveness. For example, the Xbox Design Lab Originals “The Franchise Model” looked at ROMI, not just for Xbox, but also for entrepreneurial consumers who were selling and marketing their own Xbox designs.

Augé Reichenberg, EVP, Chief Creative Officer, Havas Health & You | Health & Wellness Juror: Ideas, ideas, ideas. Oh—and can it really help human beings? Or, to quote Steve Jobs: “Make something wonderful and put it out there.”

Olivier Apers, Executive Creative Director, BETC Paris | Film Juror: Today it is no longer about telling cute little stories, but great ones – whether they are fictional or truth – stories that reason in the hearts and minds of people and make the blood rush faster through their veins.

Films have become more “interactive,” more active, and more influential along with the realization that they have an incredible power to engage, convince and call to action for brands or causes.

The monologue is over. The moment a brand or an organization release a film it will get immediately commented on, liked, hated, approved or contested. That’s why films today owe it to themselves to be active!

There was a strong showing this year from brand activism and brands showing a meaningful purpose. How do you think this will impact the industry?

Beatson: It’s going to keep us on our toes. It’s our responsibility to encourage and accompany this movement as long as our brands are sincere and responsible in their change versus just greenwashing. Together, we can accomplish something huge.

Madon: I don’t think this changes the overall business in terms of revenue for agencies, but it opens the door for agencies to flex their creative muscles to work with brands to do something meaningful for society. The onus is now on agencies to educate and guide clients to find the right cause to link with their brand and to commit to making real actions beyond a short-term emotional film, which, sadly, is the bulk of most “purpose” work today.

Florence: Every year, Cannes is always the same, but different. This year, real changes were in the air. Starting with the most diverse jury, less standard, obvious advertisements. The result was reflected in the awarded pieces. Social causes, inclusion, and purpose-driven work was on stage more often. Eighteen Grand Prix winners addressed these issues.

What to think of this? Perhaps it’s an important clue about the new mission of brand communications: helping to fix the world.

Which is not bad at all, huh, guys? After all, we’ve done enough damage. We were responsible for reinforcing various stereotypes. It’s time to redeem ourselves.

Lada: Well, for the past six to eight years, “goodvertising” has been a trend at Cannes. Actually, not only at Cannes, but in advertising festivals worldwide. But now I believe that not everything works; the purpose of the communication has to be authentic. A brand is a brand, not an NGO, so if you do things for the common good, tell me why you are doing it. How this matches your brand purpose, even your product.

But don’t forget, brands still need to sell stuff, and, in our jury, we celebrated when we found a great commercial communication worthy of an award. 

Hutchinson: Purpose is becoming hygiene. Every brand is trying to persuade consumers how they care about the world, about people: every brand is fighting against something. So, soon, what was previously differentiating will be expected. Purpose is at risk of losing its power.

Apers: Brands today must take part in positive change. They have the financial and media power to make a real impact. Brands must be responsible for positive change and must commit to a better world. Respect equality, differences, be advocates for sustainable change and fight against injustice. Each brand has to find their own positive struggle to commit to.

Because today we can and must do business while doing good and participate in a better world. It’s not an option anymore. It’s a necessity.

 

Any predictions for next year?

Beatson: Advertising has taken on a political tone. More and more brands are taking action on social and environmental issues, especially when governments are unwilling or helpless to do so. 

Madon: We have not seen enough great work that leverages AI and voice in ways that really impact people’s lives. So far, it’s been used in creative stunts and superficial commercial executions. I believe we’ll be seeing something different next year as more agencies and clients catch up with these technologies. 

Florence: What should we expect next year? More health. 

Lada: Looks like the next big trend could be “the new man.” After several years of brands (finally) supporting women’s rights, they now have a challenge in how they’ll deal with men. There is an educational role, and they have to be careful about how they approach it. We’ll see.

Reichenberg: AI and AR, not VR. 

Apers: The new Lacoste film will be a very strong contender next year! But, I forgot the name of the agency that made it 😉

Hutchinson: The purpose backlash. In our judging panel, there was an impulse to award business over purpose. So, in a world where consumers are increasingly cynical about brands, we’re going to have to change the record. To find the new brand behavior that will drive challenge and change. What will make a brand meaningful in the post-purpose era?

Let’s find out…

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

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