The Creativity Question, Cannes Edition

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Creativity asks industry experts to weigh in on a single burning issue. This month, the special Cannes jury chairs edition: What are you looking for in a Grand Prix winner?

Droga, Creative Chairman, Droga5, Film and Press Juries Chair
Droga, Creative Chairman, Droga5, Film and Press Juries Chair
David Droga
Crabs are a funny lot. Thank goodness in death they taste so good, because in life they are a bunch of pricks. Fisherman will tell you that once a cray pot is filled with live crabs, despite the huge opening at the top of the pot, they need not worry too much about them getting away. Because if one of the braver crabs decides there is more to life than being cremated in a deep fryer and tries to make a run for it, something quite unusual happens: At least one or two of the other trapped crabs will go out of their way to prevent their brother from escaping. In fact, they will use all their power to claw him back down and away from possible freedom. It seems in the crustacean world, nobody likes an overachiever.

Now, years ago while judging one of the major U.S. awards shows, I happened upon another alarming yet predictable fact. In the show's 20-plus-year history, no single entry had ever achieved an average score from all judges higher than 7.9 out of 10. That's right, no matter how great something is to a lot of people, it just isn't up to scratch for someone else. From "1984" to "Surfer," you can be confident that some creative out there has a reason to loathe it. So what does that say about us? Are we a pack of perfectionists, or just a collection of closet cynical bastards? Imagine Nadia Comaneci's historic perfect Olympic routine through the eyes of advertising judges. "Cartwheels have been done before." "Good, but would have been better if she was blindfolded and on fire." "Gymnastics is an easy category; let's see her try that in Weightlifting." So what am I looking for in a Grand Prix? I would love to say I'm looking for a consensus, but that seems unrealistic. I'm looking for something revitalizing and surprising—an idea so magnificent that it elevates the client and our industry out of the everyday. A piece of work that is not only admired and applauded within our industry (except for a few anonymous crabs), but also acknowledged and loved by its intended target audience.

Lubars, Chairman/CCO, BBDO North America, Titanium Jury Chair
Lubars, Chairman/CCO, BBDO North America, Titanium Jury Chair

David Lubars
You're looking for the first time you get kissed. The first time you walk into a baseball stadium holding your dad's hand when you're 7. The first time you use an iPod. The first time you drive by yourself. The first time you have ice cream. The first time you dive off a board. The first time you plug in a guitar. The first time you watch Goodfellas. The first time you hear Miles. The first time you look at a Magritte. Something like that.

Renetta McCann
CEO, Starcom MediaVest, Media Jury Chair
When you look at the history and spirit of the Cannes Festivals, it's first and foremost a celebration of creativity. And while some people in our industry at one point liked to debate the creativity of media, it has become an unquestionably vital component of a marketing plan. Brilliant, innovative media delivers meaningful messages to consumers based on deep and actionable insights. It is embedded in a well-articulated strategy brought to life. Some connections are built through the design and implementation of new media; some connections are established when fresh approaches are applied to traditional touchpoints. The best media efforts bring contact and creative work in absolute harmony to set new standards in how brands and consumers are connected. I fully expect and welcome healthy debates about where the media begins, the creative ends and vice versa; but the program that will take center stage is the one that most brilliantly marries content and contact so tightly that it's hard to pull them apart.

Matias Palm-Jensen
CEO, Far Far Sweden, Cyber Jury Chair
Cyber is the hardest and most complex category to judge, and the expectation for "never seen before" is huge. It is an ever-evolving media, and I'm sure we will not only discuss the work but also the use of the media and what we expect the media to deliver. Four years ago I was a member of the Cannes jury, and I remember we had tough discussions about BMWFilms. What were they? Was it groundbreaking cyber? Wasn't it just a clever media choice with mediocre films? The Media and Film juries had rejected them. Our jury was braver than that and gave them the Grand Prix, even though it was not a "traditional creative Cyber execution." For good or bad, linear storytelling in films is a big part of Cyber today, and often we don't pay for the media. A lot of them are just made in a traditional way, with a sexy or violent twist. But Cyber has more possibilities than that. There are no rules or limits in time or space for these films or applications. Maybe the Cyber Grand Prix will be an outdoor piece—rejected by that jury, but, from our point of view, driving the digital space.

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