The Cannes Lions Festival couldn’t exist without the people that make winning campaigns possible – its jurors! We sat down with one of several of our talented Havas team members to learn more about the judging process and the unique perspective they bring to this undertaking.
Kat Thomas, Founder & Global Executive Creative Director of One Green Bean, will help judge the Glass Lions for Change category – hear more from her below!
What’s the best campaign you’ve seen this year?
Probably the most memorable was the Vulva Spaceship. Yes, you read that correctly! A reaction to the fact that whilst the world was tackling climate crisis and soaring energy prices, billionaires decided to kick off the next chapter of the space race – and their phallic shaped rockets and the associated irony wasn’t lost on the internet, as memes and chatter soared. So, a German organisation championing feminism decided to respond – with the announcement of a spacecraft shaped like a vulva, which allowed them to hijack the conversation and bring it back to Earth, with a focus on the under representation of women in STEM and the broader gender pay gap in tech… just when you think you’ve seen it all, you see a flying vagina!
What specific elements will you be looking for in the winning campaigns in your category?
I’m on the jury for the Glass Lions for Change – a very special category, perhaps the most important of them all, as our job is to reward ideas that have had true cultural impact. The emphasis is on gender inequality, imbalance or injustice, and also aims to recognise the conscious representation of gender in advertising. So, whilst we’ve seen a huge amount of brilliant, thought-provoking work, our challenge is to elevate campaigns that have pushed significant cultural and perception shifts in these important areas.
Sustainability is more of a global priority than ever. Will a focus on this be a deciding factor in your judging this year?
We are entering an era of genuine climate crisis, and we all know that, so sustainability and responsible campaigning go hand-in-hand. Whilst it’s not the core criteria for the category I’m focused on, it’s impossible not to pass judgement on the methods used to grab attention and drive awareness – a flagrant disregard for taking the most environmentally conscious approach possible is never going to appeal in 2022 – the planet is too precious for frivolous wastage in the name of brand promotion.
What individual perspective do you feel you bring to the judging process?
Amongst my fellow jurors, I’ve probably got the deepest earned media experience, after 20+ years developing creative campaigns that aren’t reliant on paid media. My contribution to discussions has very much been through this lens – scrutinising whether ideas have been activated through PR in an intelligent way, a way that has pushed the cause or the issue into the national or global cultural narrative. You have to earn attention in this day and age, not simply buy it, so I’ve been scrutinising the impact of campaigns and initiatives from this angle.
What are some of the trends that you feel are dominating at Cannes this year?
It’s a little early to say, I’m yet to touch down in Cannes or see the work that is making shortlists across the multiple categories. My prediction is that we’ll see an explosion of examples that show how hard marketers have to work today, to compete for Gen Z’s attention – no generation is more tuned out of TVCs and banner ads. I also think we might see some interesting innovation in audio integration, given the podcast and wireless headphone combo is such a compelling one. Think sound logos, in app and in game ad integration, sonic brand experiences, destination soundscapes and more.