Mark Stewart, Media

Managing Director, OMD, Eastern Region, New York

Mark Stewart, president of the 2005 media jury panel in Cannes, says there will be a decided shift in focus by the judges as they evaluate approximately 1,000 entries (up 18 percent from 2004) in this year’s media competition. More emphasis will be placed this year on “creativity as opposed to results, recognizing that the spirit of Cannes and what this competition is all about is superior creativity,” says Stewart, who was a member of the media jury in 2003.

As the media landscape has become more fragmented, adds Stewart, 45, who received a marketing degree from the Sydney Institute of Technology in 1982, what matters more than ever is “media creativity that really helps messaging break through and register” with consumers. “The industry is in agreement that it’s not actually audiences that are in short supply at the moment, it’s attentiveness.

And so the media Lions are really focusing on those creative ideas that make messages resonate with people as opposed to merely reaching people.” Stewart joined the Omnicom Group’s OMD in April after 10 years at McCann Erickson and then Universal McCann, where he rose to chief strategy officer. He’s never personally won a Lion, but at U-M had oversight of the Microsoft account, which last year won a gold Lion for best use of newspaper.

OMD has multiple entries this year, and while Stewart is confident that the agency will win awards, he declined to cite any specific entries he thinks might have the best chance. It will be a long week, he says, but exhilarating: “We get to review the best of the best from around the world.”

—Stephan McClellan