Leading Eurobest 2023's Brand Experience & Activation Creative and Commerce Jury
If you see it and you wish you had done it and you're jealous and envious then it's probably amazing work. If it makes you think ‘Oh my God I wish I had done that’ or ‘Oh my God I wish I had thought of that’ and it gives you that chill then you know it's really good work.
"I want to know what got you there because I think the journey is the story. For me that's the secret sauce."
Managing Director, Global Brands, Havas Creative Network
Brand Experience & Activation and Creative Commerce Jury President Eurobest 2023
I'm going to give two moments. When my mom died, that was really a hard time but it really helped me create a sense of balance and empathy, it helped me realize that relationships matter. In this business you will probably get nine no’s before you get that one yes so losing my mom taught me that emotional resilience and that empathy that I think you need to be able to succeed.
In the midst of tragedy comes opportunity. The murder of George Floyd created a point in our industry that made people a lot more aware of our differences. They aren't weaknesses, but things that should be celebrated. It prioritized diversifying the people who are behind and in front of the camera and in the room judging the work. If you don't have that same level of lived experience and perspective in that room then I don't know how we move forward as an industry. Being like a part of that change and driving that change has been another big career defining moment for me.
What I love about these categories is their openness, there is no formula for it. Brand Experience & Activation and Creative Commerce can be any type of solution that gives you an experience. They can be so many different things and they're more about actually creating something.
One of the things that stands out for me was a piece of work that was a part of my group and that I was attached to. It was work that pushed the diversity agenda forward. It was a UK based campaign called Black Plaque Project based on the Blue Plaque scheme, commemorating people in Britain that have done a lot for society and culture. The team created an alternate scheme called the Black Plaque Project where we put plaques around London that commemorated the wonderful accomplishments that black Britons have done within the UK. For me the story was all about creating change that was meaningful for generations to come.
A trend that I expect to see and remain is AI and metaverse using those solutions as experiences.
We'll probably see a lot around creating experiences, solutions and access to diverse communities, whether that be ethnically diverse, culturally diverse or ability diverse. A lot of brands are putting a lot of emphasis on this because they appreciate the power that they have to provide services and products to these different audiences.
I think we spend a lot of time being a bit heavy. Purpose is very meaningful, it can make you laugh. There's been a resurgence of a kind of lightness and humor and having fun.
Trust, transparency and a willingness to take risks. You have to trust your team. You have to trust the process.
If there's no trust in your team, either your internal team or your client team then you’re not going to get the best out of each other. I think you have to be transparent with each other and that's built through trust, like being honest when it's just maybe not good enough. If the process is horrible, then the outcome might be horrible too.
You need to create an environment where people are having fun doing things that they love because I think hopefully the output is something that we'll all love.
Does it make you pause for a minute to make you think differently about something? That's something we want to continue to push forward and nurture. I think you can be moved in many different ways, it's got to just conjure up some sort of an emotive reaction.
Creative excellence has the ability to change people, change culture, change behavior. I think we don't often appreciate the value that creativity and creative solutions have in culture. Sometimes we can be victims of thinking that we're in this insulated world but we are putting ideas out there and they have the power to really impact people in small and big ways.
Your written submission needs to tell a story. Your case film needs to tell a story. Assume the judges are time poor because they are and they're looking at hundreds of submissions. Telling a really clear compelling story is what to me stands out, as well as the work being brilliant.
I want to know what it is that you saw in the world, you saw in the category, you saw in culture. What is it that was the impetus to get you to the creative and and if it's surprising even better. Great work is born from somewhere and I want to know what got you there because I think the journey is the story and that's what's interesting. For me that's the secret sauce.
It's what helps agencies attract the best talent. To be able to go out there and say we already have great talent that is putting out creative work that is being recognized by the industry. That's recruitment fairy dust.
It's a way for you to cement success with your client. Awards don't always mean commercial success with your clients but sometimes the job to be done is to raise the profile for them as an organization or to raise the profile of the CMO. And there's no better way to raise the profile of your CMO client than for them to be able to go back to the organization and say ‘I've won this Award’.
It matters because people put so much passion into what they do and I think there's got to be a way to incentivize & reward, telling people that we're going to get behind you and put it into Awards lets them know that, you know what? This is what we are shooting for and we're right behind you to get you there.
The best work and ideas are speculative. Spend 70% of your time on the briefs that you get but also spend enough time fostering the things that excite you like working on those speculative ideas because sometimes those ideas are insanely brilliant. A lot of times those things get brought in front of the client and they become tangible products, not because the client gave you the brief, but just because we had a great idea.
Being a creative leader is to create an environment where you allow those ideas to thrive. Where you allow people to come to you with stuff that might be a bit off the wall, a bit unexpected, because it didn't come from a brief. Creating a space where that can thrive is critically important.
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