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.
Peter Mears, CEO of Havas Media Group, will help judge the Media category, which is happening today – hear more from him below!
What’s the best campaign you’ve seen this year?
Adidas’ Liquid Billboard from Havas Middle East, which has won big across numerous categories this year, is a standout. I found the cultural insight that sits at the core of the campaign – that women don’t feel comfortable swimming in public in the Middle East – quite profound, with Adidas solving for this tension with its inclusive women’s swimwear line. The campaign celebrated and empowered women in a meaningful way and flawlessly brought together in real life experiences, out-of-home innovation, digital and PR execution.
What specific elements will you be looking for in the winning campaigns in your category?
The Media Lions category itself is incredibly diverse with nearly a dozen sub-categories sitting across Mobile, Digital, Out-of-Home and many others. Regardless of the nuances that exist within each sub-category, I am ultimately looking for an incredible media experience that sits at the core of the campaign. How did this experience invent something new? Was there a unique human insight that sat behind it? Was it brave? How did it create a meaningful experience for people? I am also looking for solid business outcomes and measurable results. A winning campaign should bring together both a memorable media experience and results that are transformative to a brand’s business.
Sustainability is more of a global priority than ever. Will a focus on this be a deciding factor in your judging this year?
Yes, we are certainly seeing sustainability in all its forms play out across the work, including brands combatting climate change, fighting for equal pay, advancing DE&I and much more. While sustainability itself is not part of the judging criteria, I found some of the most inspiring cases to be the ones that achieved both commercial success AND made a positive societal impact – furthering the virtuous cycle between people, planet and profit.
What individual perspective do you feel you bring to the judging process?
Ultimately, I am a media planner at heart, and have always stayed close to the work we are delivering for our clients. Whether it’s in the jury room or within the walls of Havas, my belief set guides how I evaluate work. A great campaign must reflect a deep understanding of audiences, have sharp insights, be rooted in a solid strategy, be flawlessly executed and drive growth. I am also very discerning and bring a healthy amount of skepticism to the jury. I’ll be the first to call out an award stunt or weak vanity metrics.
What are some of the trends that you feel are dominating at Cannes this year?
First, brands leaning in to emerging technologies like NFTs and the metaverse. We’re seeing a lot of “firsts” in this space and some interesting media experience innovations within those environments. I look forward to seeing how this trend will evolve.
Second, the re-emergence of powerful 360 experiences. I saw many incredible examples of multiple touchpoint innovations happening within campaigns that created meaningful, end-to-end experiences for people and results for brands. It’s rewarding to see these thoughtful campaigns being more widely deployed as opposed to single-focus media plans we’ve seen in recent years.