The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicks off today, and throughout the entire week, creative leaders from around the world—including eleven from the Havas Group network—are making tough decisions to choose the best of the best. Their expertise and experience in creating and breathing life into successful creative ideas give them the credibility and opportunity to determine the best work in the industry. We spoke to some of the Havas jurors this year about their perspective on creativity, the value they find in their Cannes experience, and what they’ll be looking for in this year’s campaigns.
Finish this sentence: Creativity is…
Peter Mears, Global CEO, Havas Media Group | Media Juror: …energizing, transformative and meaningful.
Fabrice Plazolles, Chief Creative Officer, Havas Sports & Entertainment France | Entertainment for Sport Juror: …everywhere.
Bertille Toledano, President, BETC Paris | Creative Effectiveness Juror: …what can change the world.
Olivier Aumard, Executive Creative Director, BETC Paris | Design Juror: …connecting different things to generate something new. I deeply think that creativity needs accidents, collisions, small or big ones. Something that makes you feel uncomfortable at the beginning and so happy when you manage to marry two different worlds.
Sanchita Roy, Head of Strategy, Havas Media Group India | Creative Strategy Juror: …anything that is bold, beautiful, and deeply rooted in our ethos. It is the power of ideas that helps drive connection with people and can evoke emotions just by its sheer presence.
How do you spot Cannes-winning work?
Peter Mears: I know it’s a special piece of work when it sparks my attention and generates a reaction – whether I’m moved, learn something new or it makes me think differently about our world. Professional envy is also a sure-fire sign it is a great piece of work. I’ve had a few “I wish we’d done that!” moments while reviewing this year’s cases.
Fabrice Plazolles: You feel it inside you. It’s like opening a candy.. You first look at the idea, you feel it and it creates something you can’t explain… Maybe it’s like love at first sight!
Bertille Toledano: By following the work of the world class agencies everywhere in the world.
Olivier Aumard: There are many ingredients to it. First of all, it is to be able to bring an element of surprise. Something that I have never seen before, or at least under that form. Of course, you need to add an impeccable craft and a strong message behind it. If all these aspects are present, then you just have to wait and pray. But there is no miracle recipe to win awards…It would be too easy.
Sanchita Roy: Work that is based on a strong consumer insight or a cultural truth. I am looking for work that has direct impact on the lives of consumers, whether it’s driving meaningfulness or empowering people. It should have the ability to have an impact that is undeniable and inspires the creative world to raise the bar.
What do you value most from the Cannes experience and what do you hope to learn while there?
Peter Mears: I’m humbled and grateful to spend a few days away from my screen to exclusively focus on work, creativity and charting the future for our industry. Given all that we’ve been through in the last two years, I’m looking forward to reconnecting with clients, colleagues, and partners, celebrating our industry and being together. I’m also expecting some healthy debate in the jury room, which is always an illuminating and valuable exercise that makes me think about work in a deeper, more meaningful way.
Fabrice Plazolles: It’s a blast to be with some of the most creative minds around the world. You debate with some of the best creative, you fight to defend your opinion, you see ideas you’ve never heard about it before and you are amazed… When I’m in Cannes, I hope to learn a lot listening the opinion of other jurors and also by joining some inspiring talks at the Palais.
Bertille Toledano: The connection with the best talents, the best ideas, and the best work of our industry.
Olivier Aumard: Cannes is a global celebration of creativity. So, what I expect the most from it is to discover a huge amount of campaigns coming from all over the world. Campaigns that have been thought of with cultural insights from so diverse countries…Because, even if we stay on top of what’s going on during the year, we always tend to get surprised by some campaigns at Cannes. Cannes is also a great way to evaluate your own work against the best of the best in terms of creativity. I personally expect to be nourished, inspired, and to come back from the festival even more motivated for the year to come.
Sanchita Roy: Getting to see the best of work from across the world, I think that has always been the biggest high point of Cannes. Also, the festival has some of the best keynote addresses and sessions, which itself is a huge opportunity to learn about the latest trends and the pressing challenges facing our industry today.
Cannes has committed to delivering the most sustainable festival in its history. Do you expect to see this reflected in the work you’ll be judging?
Peter Mears: As evidenced in the work submitted to this year’s festival, sustainability is clearly top of mind for our entire industry. The sustainability-focused work has been vast and covered environmental impact, gender equality, social justice, inclusivity in all its forms, community impact and more – with brands, agencies and partners all driving towards making a positive change in our world.
Fabrice Plazolles: I hope so! Creativity has the power to make people evolve, to awake the society… I hope a lot of brands will jump into this opportunity and will propose some meaningful ideas. I also hope the festival will think about sustainability during the week we’ll spend in Cannes.
Bertille Toledano: There is a lot of sustainable engagements everywhere in the work presented, let’s hope that these engagements are more than communication subjects.
Olivier Aumard: Sustainability has definitely become a central topic that finds its way through many campaigns. It’s obviously a good thing. In 2022, it is impossible to come up with a campaign or an idea without taking into account the sustainable aspect. Advertising is a mirror of society. It is then normal, and also quite reassuring, that we see brands being committed to developing sustainable ideas. I am convinced that brands have a great role to play.
Sanchita Roy: Of course, one of the key trends that I have seen in the work so far is based on sustainability, CSR and how brands are now wanting to give back to society. Brands can no longer work in a silo but are now required to connect and interact with their audiences to make a difference to the communities around them. What is encouraging is that a lot of brands have already started talking the language of purpose-led communication to make a meaningful difference to society, whether it is empowering women, or brands taking steps to reduce carbon emissions, or even driving inclusivity through product enhancements.
What’s your “I wish I had thought of that” idea and why?
Peter Mears: One case that has really stayed with me is “Backup Ukraine” from Polycam x Unesco. At the onset of the Russian invasion, the collective urged Ukrainians to document buildings, monuments and works of art by scanning them with their phones. The scans were then preserved as full 3D models, with virtual blueprints saved safely in the cloud. It was a brilliant use of mobile and tech, and I can’t think of anything more meaningful than preserving heritage and culture for future generations.
Fabrice Plazolles: I’m a big fan of a Heineken Billboard, the Genderless Billboard. FC Barcelona Men were eliminated from the Champions League, but FC Barcelona Women were still running for the title. Heineken, sponsor of the Champions League, decided to hack Barcelona and they created a billboard in Barcelona saying « Congratulations FC Barcelona for your qualification ». First, people from Barcelona thought it was a mistake and it was a perfect way to highlight the Women’s Team and to support them the right way.
Bertille Toledano: As I am judging Lions efficiency, I will say that John Lewis and 10 years of thoughtful gifting is an amazing case of great work that sustainably works.
Olivier Aumard: I really enjoyed recently the “Rejected Ales” campaign for Matilda Bay.
The work is simplistic and impactful. Simple and impactful. It’s what every creative person in the world always tries to achieve.
Sanchita Roy: I have had many ‘a-ha’ moments in the work I have judged so far and all of them are medium agnostic ideas, very powerful and I’m sure they would have had a huge impact on people and communities around them for sure.