Tony Granger, Press & Outdoor

Chief Creative Officer of Saatchi & Saatchi, New York

“It’s my third time. I love it,” says Tony Granger of his participation judging the work at Cannes. “It’s such an exciting time.”

Last fall, Granger, who had been executive creative director at Saatchi & Saatchi in London, relocated to the United States for the second time in his career, after working at S&S’s London office for two years. He first moved to the States in early 2001, when he was named executive creative director of Bozell in New York.

Having spent two years away from the U.S. market, Granger says he can recognize an overall improvement in the quality of the work he’s seeing. “The average ad break is so much better, you are seeing work that is more inviting, [that] seeks to emotionally connect rather than ramming stuff down your throat,” says Granger. And the improvement isn’t limited to TV, he says. “Print’s gotten better too,” he says.

Granger, 45, is an art director by trade and started his career at Grey Johannesburg in 1981. But he is best known for the work he created during a 12-year tenure at TBWA\Hunt\Lascaris, where he crafted gold-Lion-winning TV and print ads for BMW, Bic pens, Wonderbra and nonprofit organization Reach for a Dream.

The increased emotional advertising he’s seeing is a reflection of agencies’ response to the increased demands on consumers’ attention. “Commercials have to go from being intrusive and aggressive to inviting and tantalizing and connective,” he says, pointing to a favorite spot entered in Cannes this year, Honda’s “Grrr.” “That’s what that spot does.”

His expectations are the same for any ad, no matter what form it takes. It’s about the big idea, instantly communicated because most people look at an ad for only three seconds on a “I want to feel the soul of brand basis,” he says. And of course, “I look for stuff that feels inspired and makes me feel jealous.”

—Eleftheria Parpis