James McGrath's Cannes Diary #1

Screen Shot 2018-06-21 at 8.00.35 am.jpgJames McGrath, Creative Chairman at Clemenger BBDO, is representing Australia on the Cannes Titanium Lions jury. McGrath, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors writes for CB.

Day Two of Cannes Lions Titanium judging has just been completed. This year, I assume in a welcome gesture of palpable Creativity being on display, the 25 finalists have been invited to present to the jury, their case, for their idea in ten minutes with another ten of questions from us, all in front of a live audience (as we saw in Innovation last year).

I should first say, if ever there was an educational masterclass in understanding the year's best work from the people who devised it and the extraordinary clients who bought it, this was it. Never mind observing some of the penetrating questions (in a very respectful and congratulatory kind of way) from us the jury.

Our jury is presided-over by Colleen DeCourcy, CCO of Wieden + Kennedy, like many of our visionary and contemporary leaders, she is unsurprisingly disarming, straight-talking and clearly thinking deeply about the complex and ever-converging world we all operate in. She has been generous and encouraging to the wider group. Having served as jury President myself, I know how hard that is, for each juror to feel they have an opinion or a question worth asking in the face of some much more formidable or just louder individuals. While we are a smaller jury and I guess a senior one, the culturally diverse nature is what defines the Cannes Lions, hearing and understanding points-of-view is very reminding of why this festival is truly, globally regarded.
There has been a real sense of generosity and thoughtfulness in the very make-up of who has presented, a seniority of client, wonderfully passionate and proud, clearly having had that transformative experience in risk-taking and being rewarded. Creatively some brilliant, but importantly young creative talent, being generously and well-chosen by their agencies to represent their significant reputation. I might say, many young Australians, while that is draining on our local industry, it does show the disproportionate quality of talent we create and the confident diverse capability they bring to their working lives and the stage here.

The debate and deliberations have already been very nuanced, no doubt that will only escalate as we make our way into a private discussion tomorrow. There is a building narrative around 'branded ownership', in part legitimate and hard fought for, other times an attachment to a social issue or cause perhaps because the organization doesn't really have an embedded story to tell.

All in all, we are of course hugely inspired by the most defining ideas of the year but it inevitably falls now to the very definition of Titanium, as to which, beyond their brilliance suggest the way forward, for an industry that most needs to hear it.

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