What 11 Cannes Lions Jury Presidents Want in 2020

For the first awards in the new decade, it's about inclusion, craft and building business

What will Cannes Jury president deem the best in 2020? Cannes Lions

Before we know it, the industry will be descending upon the South of France and the annual pilgrimage of creativity once again. Last year’s Grand Prix winners included some classic branding, but the majority of the awarded work attached to causes and purpose.

The judging process in the rooms at the Cannes Lions is compelling. While there is generally a convivial atmosphere, each jury president sets the tone and allows for constructive dialogue. Like most awards programs, expectations of the work are exceptionally high—but there tends to be more gravity when a Lion is on the line.

We asked the Cannes Jury—which reached gender parity for the first time in its history—what they expect to see, and what will make a winner come June.

Wyclef Jean, president and CSO, Carnival World Music Group
Category: Entertainment Lions for Music

Adweek: What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

Having served on the entertainment jury a couple of years ago, I look forward to once again seeing true creativity at its best. We work to decide whether advertisers have made a real connection with consumers. In past years, I have seen some fantastic work in my category, like the Absolute One Source campaign and Childish Gambino’s “This is America.”

What do you hope you’ll see in the overall work at Cannes in 2020? Conversely, what do you hope you won’t see in this year’s entries?

Brands and musicians alike have come to understand how to address today’s fast-paced, tech-savvy consumer. I hope to see genuine care for connecting the message to the consumer in the most authentic way. Conversely, what I hope I don’t see is a disregard for what actually connects and makes people react.

See last year’s Entertainment Lions winners.

Karen Blackett, WPP UK country manager & chairwoman MediaCom UK & Ireland
Category: Glass

What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

The Glass Lions category is work that essentially looks to change inequality in society. I genuinely believe that you can change the world by focusing on changing the immediate world around you. The Glass Lions highlights those brands that are doing just that—changing culture and changing society for the better. Previous winners have pushed taboos, normalized their discussion, are game-changing [and] brilliant.

What do you expect to see in Cannes-worthy work this year in your category?

I would hope to see work that continues to focus on creating culture change, create a worldwide phenomenon, and shine the light on true injustice and inequality.

What do you hope you’ll see in the overall work at Cannes in 2020? Conversely, what do you hope you won’t see in this year’s entries?

I hope to see work that reflects real consumer and cultural insight, work that demonstrates diversity, inclusion, and belonging authentically and naturally, not as a casting afterthought. Work that makes you think and work that is creative, and that can grow and transform brands. I hope to see data used responsibly and effectively, rather than data showboating. I hope to see integrated work that is the very best from our industry and pushes our it forward.

See last year’s Glass Lion winners.

Susan Credle, global CCO, FCB
Category: Titanium

What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

My first time serving on the Titanium jury, Dan Wieden was the chair. He was also the visionary behind the Titanium Lion. He believed we needed to celebrate work that carves a new path and shows the industry the way forward. The impetus for this thinking was Fallon’s extraordinary BMW films campaign, which was never awarded at Cannes because it fit none of the existing categories—a travesty Dan wanted to ensure would never be repeated. I sat on the jury again last year, and we focused on the second part of Dan’s mission: show the industry the way forward. That’s what makes sitting on the Titanium jury remarkable. The type of work being awarded should evolve year after year.

What do you expect to see in Cannes-worthy work this year in your category?

Creativity that acts as an economic multiplier for the business it serves and that simultaneously builds brand affinity.

What do you hope you’ll see in the overall work at Cannes in 2020? Conversely, what do you hope you won’t see in this year’s entries?

I hope I see more work solving real business problems.

On the flip side, I hope we see no scam work–either entered or awarded. The Lions have increasingly shifted the emphasis of the awards away from unfettered creativity and toward work that drives business. It’s critical to ensuring the long-term health of our industry.

See last year’s Titanium Lion winners.

Ronald Ng, global CCO, Isobar
Category: Creative Business Transformation

What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

It’s the inaugural year for the Creative Business Transformation Lions–so there is no precedent, and that’s what’s most exciting. Everyone’s talking about transformation, and once again, the Cannes Lions is showing the way forward in recognizing that the industry needs to celebrate this specific discipline for its creative excellence. Not just what brands say, but what they genuinely believe in and what they do: from their operations, policies, culture, purpose, products, services and experiences they offer their customers, driving transformative exponential change.

What do you expect to see in Cannes-worthy work this year in your category?

In this category, we will want to shine a light on how the most creative approaches to transforming businesses have resulted in unprecedented success.

What do you hope you’ll see in the overall work at Cannes in 2020? Conversely, what do you hope you won’t see in this year’s entries?

I’d love to see more creativity that builds brands and makes people’s lives better. I believe we’re past the days of “made for awards” industry-indulging work, and I hope that will be reflected in all the winning work across categories. I’d like to see creativity coming from or a combination of diverse skillset experts across design, strategy, tech, data and commerce. The exclusive Mad Men creative department club is dead. Today, breakthrough creativity can come from anywhere. The democratization of creativity and the equal opportunity to solve the most significant challenges will fuel our industry with fresh and diverse ideas powerful enough to transform brands and change the world.

Kerstin Emhoff, co-founder, president, Prettybird
Category: Film Craft

What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

The best in craft has to start with a great idea or a great story. What’s the most exciting to see is how the work has been taken to another level with execution. Craft can be difficult to judge because you have to look at the work with the specific category in mind to accurately judge it. But that is also what makes it so exciting. Having craft categories is so crucial for all the phenomenal creatives that work to bring these great ideas and stories to life. As trends come and go with the stories we tell, craft is a constant, and when it’s good, it always brings the work to a higher level.

What do you expect to see in Cannes-worthy work this year in your category?

I was a judge in Film Craft in 2016. As we watched all of the work, I was constantly reminded of how much thought we put into entering our own work in Cannes. I felt a greater responsibility to respect the thinking behind submitting work for consideration because this was their best.

What do you hope you’ll see in the overall work at Cannes in 2020? Conversely, what do you hope you won’t see in this year’s entries?

What I hope and look forward to is the diversity of work in Cannes. Every year, even when I’m not judging, I leave Cannes seeing work from Thailand, India, Japan, Brazil and other countries that I had never seen before. I spend the next year talking about those pieces and how they inspired me. What I don’t hope for is seeing work submitted in every craft category just to see what sticks. We really take the categories entered very seriously.

See last year’s Film Craft Lion winners.

Luiz Sanches, chairman, CCO and partner, AlmapBBDO
Category: Outdoor

What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

Outdoor is the perfect blend of all other categories at the festival. Outdoor is the perfect space to create content to be shared on multiple platforms. You can also see how craft plays an essential role in boosting ideas to become more impactful, meaningful and shareable.


@zanger doug.zanger@adweek.com Doug Zanger is a senior editor, agencies at Adweek, focusing on creativity and agencies.
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