Cannes Lions Jurors Talk Innovation and Creative Effectiveness on “Marketing Matters”

Aired June 18, 2014

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the world’s largest creative communications festival in the world, bringing together 12,000 creatives, marketers and technologists from 94 countries for a week in southern France. Two members of the festival’s awards juries took time out from their busy schedules at Cannes to speak with WFoA’s “Marketing Matters” hosts about the festival: Michael Fassnacht, President & CEO of FCB Chicago and a member of the Creative Effectiveness Lions Jury; and Oliver Palmer, CEO and Head of Innovation at Tigerspike, who sat on the Innovation Lions jury. Joining hosts Professor Jerry wind and WFoA Executive director Catharine Hays, the guests discussed the importance of Cannes in the landscape of marketing and communications, how the Cannes juries operate, and what lessons listeners can learn from the 2014 edition of the festival.

Michael Fassnacht
Michael Fassnacht

The festival offers a platform and opportunities for recognition and learning unequaled in other venues according to Fassnacht. Winning a Lions at Cannes affords agencies the chance to do more work for more money. Beyond the positive impact on one’s business, Fassnacht explained further, “It effects a cultural impact as well, because if clients and we as marketers experience the impact of this work, it challenges us to be even better… even more conservative clients see that consumers don’t want average work.”

With over 35,000 entries in 17 different awards categories, one of the challenges for awards juries in winnowing the sheer number of entrants in each category down to a shortlist for further award consideration. That category’s Grand Prix winner, as well as any winners of gold, silver and

bronze lions that the jury chooses to award, are then chosen from that shortlist.

To Fassnacht, whose Creative Effectiveness jury evaluated prior Cannes Lions winners in terms of the impact of their campaigns, it was important to consider that impact in four different areas: cultural impact; brand metrics; consumer behavior, and the financial return on investment of the campaign: “The entries that made the shortlist covered all four areas… finance is the most important.” The winner of the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix, a campaign for V/Line transportation network in Australia aimed at increasing off-peak ridership called “Guilt Trips,” demonstrated the greatest return on its investment.

Oliver Palmer
Oliver Palmer

For Palmer, judging the Innovation Lions entry was about “more than a campaign:” jurors were asked to evaluate entries for their potential “in a much broader context.” In addition, the Innovation Lions were the only award that was evaluated live onstage, as opposed to the combination of film clips and informational packets employed by other juries. “The difference between the impression you get from a two-minute video online and the people presenting onstage is amazing… you get to talk to them and you realize how amazing [the entry] is.”

The show closed with an outline of Prof. Wind’s planned CEO Academy class, which was designed to introduce CEOs into an environment in which they have traditionally not been participants. The idea, as Wind put it , was to “bring [CEOs] to a place that will confront them with so many different perspectives,” and to then present them with “tools and approaches to enhance the creativity of their organizations.” Among these lessons were:

  • The importance of challenging established “mental models,” the ingrained understandings individuals carry about their world or field;
  • The benefits of experimentation as it relates to creativity;
  • The idea that creativity is the responsibility of everyone in an organization, and not that of one specialized department within it.

The CEO Academy was conducted at Cannes Lions on June 18-19.

See MegaFon’s “Faces” Pavilion from the Sochi Olympics, which won the Innovation Lions Grand Prix, along with other entries, at this link.

See the “Guilt Trip” campaign and other Creative Effectiveness entries here.

Catharine Hays
Catharine Hays

More information about the Cannes Lions Festival can be found here.

The Wharton Future of Advertising Program airs programs monthly on Marketing Matters, a weekly call-in show airing on Wednesdays from 5pm to 7pm on Sirius XM Channel 111, Business Radio powered by Wharton. The next edition of Marketing Matters featuring WFoA will concern marketing centered around the World Cup, and will air on Wednesday, July 16th from 5pm to 7pm. Programs will be rebroadcast throughout the month. Full channel information available here:

-Matt Wiegle, WFoA Program Assistant

Photo of Wharton Sirius XM studio by Sareena Sofat.