Cannes Lions

Inside the Creative Effectiveness Jury: Mondelez's Maria Mujica

Takeaways From a Client-Side Judge on How Agencies Can Be More Effective

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At Cannes, everyone focuses on the winners -- which campaign, which agency, and how did your own country do.

But before there's a winner, there's a jury. Ad Age is taking you inside the voting room at the Palais des Festivals through exit interviews with jurors from different categories. Here, Buenos Aires-based Maria Mujica, Latin America regional marketing strategy & communication director for Mondelez, shares her client-side insights from judging Cannes' creative effectiveness Lions.

What are your takeaways from the judging?

Coming out of the creative effectiveness jury experience here are some tweet-length learnings I'm taking back for inspiration:

Effectiveness is not a creativity downer

To demand creativity work hard is respecting creativity more...not limiting it.

The quality of the awarded cases in the creative effectiveness category should be evidence strong enough to stop our energy drain in the creativity vs. effectiveness debate and help us focus all our energy on a new question: How can we develop brilliant vs average creativity sustainably for our brands and businesses? I'm leaving energized around this flag!

A sexy ROI alone will not make the case for you

A good ROI is necessary but not enough. As a judge, I have appreciated the ability of the strongest cases to articulate a frame that makes the whole effectiveness thread evident in a simple way. It's about telling the results story so you see what each piece of the ecosystem is bringing to the party and what to measure in which stage.

Marketers: Let's go back to .doc

We need to recover the art of writing. Image-less is good! It forces us to better use the power of words and synthetize. The beauty comes from the framing of the case. This is a young category at Cannes and we all agreed on the opportunity to elevate our collective capability in framing more powerful effectiveness cases.

What surprised and inspired me?

A case like Depaul Box Company winning a lion. [Depaul, a U.K. charity dedicated to getting homeless youths off the street, and Publicis U.K. realized Brits associate cardboard boxes with both homeless people sleeping in them and moving to a new home. So the Depaul Box Company was born, selling cardboard boxes to people packing up to move, with all profits donated to the charity, with the idea that your move helps a young person move off the street] It's a small-scale yet big idea which makes two relevant points:

1. Creative agencies can expand their creative expertise beyond communication and bring new ideas to solve good problems. In this case, the idea was not primarily a campaign but the creation of a new business model to make the NGO funding sustainable. The creativity is not contained and restricted to the "ads"! It's addressing a broader model problem where creativity can provide an out-of-the-box perspective to solve a big company challenge.

2. Creativity can develop briĺliant solutions that can work as "ready to scale" springboards for NGOs with the same challenge. Thus the pro bono work which many agencies already do would have more impact.

Suggestions for next year's jury?

Come ready to change your mind. This will make you be a better listener and focus on the quality of debate arguments.

Be clear upfront what the creative effectiveness category is and what it is not. All the entries have already been awarded prizes for creativity [a prerequisite for entry] and this is the time where we filter through their effectiveness lens. The submitted case has to do the job!