Rose Herceg’s Cannes Diary #1, #2 and #3

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Rose Herceg’s Cannes Diary #1, #2 and #3

Rose Herceg, country president, WPP, Australia & New Zealand is this year’s jury president for the Cannes Creative Data Lions. Herceg, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors, writes exclusively for CB.



Here we are. Our own mini–United Nations. Argentina, Australia, Brazil, India, South Africa, The Netherlands, the United States, the United Kingdom, and Ukraine. Nine of us in a room. The tenth, beaming in virtually due to a passport mishap. Whoever said travel was glamourous clearly didn’t do it for work.

Put simply, our first day is the reason why if you’re asked to be on a jury, say yes.

I can divide the why into three parts.

Part 1: The Jury
This jury is kind. Smart, funny, and warm. Above all, honest. Everyone is polite. No one talks over anyone else. There is a desire to be respectful. A desire to learn from each other’s cultures.

The most admirable of qualities I’ve always believed is an individual who is willing (and able) to have their mind changed. One of the things I respect the most in a human being is the power of a cogent, credible argument to convince them that their POV (after a robust debate) can evolve. Even change entirely.

Our jury is made up of people willing to debate an idea on its merits. Willing to concede that their POV has changed. This is gold to me. If everyone was able to apply this, our world would likely be in a better shape.

Part 2: The Work
The shortlist we’ve selected is as varied as it is globally representative. It comes in many stripes. Culturally relevant, socially conscious, economically ambitious, and plain-old funny. When you see a piece of work that makes you laugh out loud, you fall in love with this incredible industry all over again.

There are some knockout pieces of work. Some that need more work. We sat in a room together for nine hours. We debated and discussed the work. We added pieces we believed may have been overlooked. We’ve voted on work that deserves to be on the list.

Part 3: The Industry
Watching and hearing ten people reaffirm their passion for our industry is a wonderful by-product of this first day’s judging. When you see work that changes lives, an economy, the law, politics, and the environment, you know you are very lucky to be working within this industry. Even more so when you see a piece of work achieve something so spectacular that you feel like clapping out loud.

There are (still) those who question the value of creativity.

If we’d had any of those sceptics in our room today, they would have walked out more than a little changed. Especially when you see how the highest calibre of work can deliver serious results. When all is said and done, the fundamental truth is this: the best CFOs and CEOs love creativity. Why? Because when done to the standard we saw today, it’s money in the bank.

Tomorrow, we transform the shortlist into winners.

Rose Herceg’s Cannes Diary #1, #2 and #3

Day 2: Creative Data Lions

With our shortlist locked, today we went from many to a few.
There’s a moment where we all realised that we have moved from hundreds of entries to a shortlist, to an even shorter shortlist to the final winners.

What I have loved the most about the process so far is the chance to stop and make sure that nothing that should be on that shortlist has been left off. Each jury member gets a do-over. Each of us can pick one piece of work to place back into the mix.

Now comes the awarding of the Lions. They are scarce. Making it real makes you pause. Winning a Cannes Lion changes a career. Opens doors. It’s serious business and if nothing else, we owe it to every agency and business that sent in an entry to make sure we see their work fully.

Few things in life come close to the energy of a great debate.

We move pieces of work around. We debate whether it deserves a Bronze or a Silver – or indeed anything at all. Is it worthy of a Lion? How does it compare to other pieces of work? What work merits a gold? The Grand Prix?

We see the big picture. What does our work say about the evolution of our category? What roles should creativity play in data and data in creativity? When next year’s entries come, what can they learn from our jury?

Tomorrow I’ll focus on the observations that come from judging Creative Data.

Rose Herceg’s Cannes Diary #1, #2 and #3

Day 4 marked the press conference to announce winners in our Creative Data category.

We awarded 3 Golds and a Grand Prix.

GOLD to TURF FINDER. The film utilised historical maps data to pinpoint suitable locations like vacant parking lots or empty streets and transformed them into accessible playing areas across the cities of India. And it was Gatorade finding them the place.

GOLD to MAGNETIC STORIES. Magnetic Stories using Siemens technology centred on creating a library of children’s audiobooks that made the loud, chaotic noises produced by MRI machines a more tolerable experience for kids. How amazing to pair writers with noises that can terrify kids (and big kids, too).

Our final GOLD is awarded to ABSURB PROMISES. ASDRA (The Downs Syndrome Association of Argentina) analysed Presidental candidates’ proposals to measure their complexity during the live Presidential debate in Argentina. In real time, the promises were tweeted with a complexity scale tagging the politicians. Alongside this? A much simpler proposal to implement: the new disability law. Which became law. A stunning piece of work.

Our Grand Prix winner Room for Everyone is the best argument for creativity.

Room for Everyone is a campaign from Mastercard that shows how Ukrainian and local Polish businesses could help each other thrive. The campaign promoted “Where to Start,” a data-driven tool that matched Polish and Ukrainian businesses based on a complementary data model. The new tool provided users with information about complementary businesses, those that prosper better when operating near each other. The insights helped to create a business ecosystem among Ukrainian and Polish entrepreneurs.

This work delivered socially, economically, geographically, and culturally. It stopped xenophobia in its tracks. It helped create a booming small business economy. It reminded us that there is more that unites us than divides us. It took data and used it with such incredible finesse. It achieved all of this in one campaign. This work is exactly what we were looking for in the Creative Data category.

Rose Herceg’s Cannes Diary #1, #2 and #3

(Image credit: Getty Images)