The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will have a jury president from China for the first time when JWT's Lo Sheung Yan chairs the festival's Outdoor competition in 2012.
Lo Sheung Yan, known as Mayan, is JWT's executive creative director, North East Asia, and chairman, China. A native of Hong Kong, he has been with JWT and based in Shanghai since 1996 and is a member of JWT's global creative council.
Under his creative stewardship in Asia, the agency has garnered many creative awards, including China's first ever Grand Prix at Cannes this year, for Samsonite's Heaven and Hell. To highlight the luggage's insane durability, the Grand Prix-winning press ad starkly contrasts "heavenly" first class with an airplane's hellish luggage compartment.
Choosing a creative based in mainland China to preside over a Cannes jury for the first time reflects the country's growing creative prowess and ability to pick up Lions at Cannes, culminating in this year's Grand Prix win. Highlighting China's increasing importance at international ad festivals, the announcement was made by the Cannes Lions' chairman, Terry Savage, at a press conference in Shanghai on Thursday.
Mayan has previously judged awards both regionally and internationally, and has been a judge at the Cannes festival twice. He's also a playwright and an actor, and has written lyrics for Asian pop songs and musicals.
In a statement, Cannes chairman Terry Savage described Mayan's appointment as 'momentous' both for the festival and for China. Savage added: "In the list of the most-awarded countries at the 2011 Festival, China ranked joint 14th place (with Canada) and won its first-ever Grand Prix. Great creative work is coming from all over the world and countries that have never won major awards before are now sharing the stage with the more traditional winning countries."
Separately, Saatchi & Saatchi has announced that its New Directors' Showcase reel, long one of the highlights of the Cannes festival in southern France, will be shown in China for the first time at the ROI Festival in Shanghai on Nov. 11.