Inside the Jury Room: Print, Design, Pharma and Health

What trends did Canadian jurors Zak Mroueh, Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, Wendy Turner and Todd Henwood see across the winners?
Grand Prix Trophy
 
For this year’s Cannes Lions, strategy asked the Canadian jurors to take our readers behind the curtain of the jury rooms, where deliberations took place across continents and timezones. Here, each of the experts in their fields will dissect the category they judged and also reveal the campaign that inspired them most this year. 

Pharma

By Wendy Turner, CCO, Ogilvy Health

Wendy Turner

Like so many of my fellow creatives, I’ve been haunted by the siren call of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for years. I have attended the event several times, but this year my dream of being on the Pharma Jury came true.

As blown away as I was by being included, it quickly dawned on me that I had been selected the year the pandemic forced the festival online. Just my luck. Well, it wasn’t the rosé-filled evenings in the south of France of my dreams, but the caliber of the work and the in-depth discussions I participated in with jurors from around the globe were nothing short of magical.

We pored over 500+ submissions in the Pharma category, and awarded under 20. What stood out immediately to me was the exceptional quantity, and quality, of animation. Of course, it is a great solution to the social distancing issue of the pandemic, but animation at this level clearly elevates the creative product and helps deliver messaging in a unique and captivating manner.

“Reality” was another big trend this year, with real people, patient and healthcare professional experiences brought to life across a range of creative executions. Getting to the emotional truth of real experiences not only creates audience engagement, but also helps build a moving, visceral relationship with the brand.

On a side note, I was also struck by the massive budgets, both time and money, that went into so many of the entries. I do love a great blockbuster, but it would be fascinating to include a category for doing more with less for some of the smaller brands and agencies of the world. Just saying. In the end, judging was even more that I had hoped. It was a truly invigorating experience that made me proud to be part of an industry in which, no matter the circumstances, creativity and innovation Cannes flourish.

Juror Pick:
Teva Pharmaceutial “Hairspray” by VCCP
Country: UK

Health & Wellness

By Todd Henwood, EVP, ECD, GSW Canada

todd-hires-colour[2]If the past year has taught us anything, it’s that most of us pay attention to our health and that we have the mental capacity to show empathy for others. That’s the type of work celebrated in Health & Wellness – one the fastest growing categories at Cannes. It’s not about a single medium or disciplined approach, it’s about positively impacting life using any platform available. And like most categories, the creative is a reflection of the world we live in, with the major difference being that this work is trying to do something about it.

Many trends and themes are central to the H&W entries this season which of course include COVID-19 and healthcare heroes – and some are absolutely fantastic. Remember the situation when that work was released, and you will quickly move past the dismissiveness of COVID-19 fatigue. It’s certainly worth recognizing Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” and Mucinex’s “Be a Hero. Be Boring.”

Our favourite new pastime, handwashing, was a central theme for more entries than I could count on two hands. The topic was used as a point of entry for everything from fundraising to COVID-19 education, and even simply to sell soap. You be the judge of this one.

Every year, the themes of diversity and inclusion inspire a large pool of entries and this year showed many of them rise to the top. A couple of pieces to pay particular attention to are “#BlackHealthNow” (TBWA\WorldHealth) and the incredible social experiment “The Call” (Empowher New York) – both of which highlight the disparities in access to healthcare for Black Americans.

Film craft is stronger across the board this year with some entries using complex animation techniques to make their point. Local film entries like Sickkids Vs. continue to hold up against a global field that has taken a note and is keeping pace.

Women’s Health produced a significant volume of global entries specifically related to personal healthcare education, and technology played a central role showing agencies solve problems R&D of innovative products. But one of the most interesting observations, and points of progress for the category, was brands from outside of healthcare solving genuine healthcare problems. IKEA broke that barrier in 2019 and established a blueprint for how to genuinely be a health and wellness brand.

This latest body of Cannes Lions award winning work from the creative world of Health & Wellness is a proud representation of the progress of the category, which has arguably become one of the most competitive in the show. But more than that, the work clearly illustrates that the realities of life can touch each and every one of us, and the creativity to solve the problems is everybody’s business.

Juror Pick

Wyeth “Voice Doodler” by Ogilvy Shanghai
Country: China

Design

By Zak Mroueh, Chairman & CCO, Zulu Alpha Kilo

zak-mroueh_1-623x350The industry at large sometimes underestimates the power of design. Thinking of it solely as brand systems, logos and making things look beautiful. Since founding Zulu Alpha Kilo with design as a core discipline, I’ve always believed in its untapped potential. As a member of this year’s Cannes jury, we wanted to show exactly where design had the potential to go, beyond the stereotypical definition. The work that really stood out to us at the highest level was design thinking used as a problem-solving tool for business, society, and the environment.

With everything the industry has been through, we showed generosity as a jury. After all, there were two years’ worth of brilliant design work globally. So, we awarded two Grand Prix’s – one for 2020, and one for 2021. Both revolved around sustainability and the future of our planet. These pieces will force us all to up our game in 2022.

We also saw breathtaking work that had a major impact on societal issues. I was inspired by the thinking that tackled these challenges head on. Of course, there was some work that divided us. The jury didn’t love case videos that felt more like PR stories rather than showcasing how the design craft played a central role in the solution.

For instance, the brilliant Robin Hood Flour packaging innovation during COVID almost didn’t make the shortlist, as well as Heinz’s Ketchup Puzzle, both out of Canada. This is when it’s helpful to have a judge from the country of origin, so they can explain the cultural magnitude. I was able to share the significance of Robin Hood’s craft paper packaging and how, growing up, Canadians recognized the brand for its iconic yellow. And that stepping away from that was a bold move to solve a supply chain issue.

I explained to my fellow jurors that we shouldn’t evaluate this entry based on aesthetics or typography. This one was about using design as a problem-solving tool to solve a real business challenge. Knowing the context, it finally clicked for the jury. The entry forced us to discuss the role and responsibility of design. No, it’s not always about a graphic look. It’s about innovation, impact on business and fulfilling a human need.

I was a big fan of all the Canadian work that I did see. I’ve been in awe of some of these pieces for over 12 months. So, I know how brilliant they are and well-deserving of the accolades. It was just about making sure the global design community understood the Canadian cultural references, so they could be in awe of them too.

Juror Pick:

H&M “LOOOP” by AKQA
Country: USA

Print & Publishing

By Nancy Crimi-Lamanna, CCO, FCB Canada

Judging Cannes is always an incredible experience as it’s a masterclass in great work. The conversations in the room always leave me smarter. I love when someone unpacks a piece in a way I hadn’t considered and completely changes my vote. How often do you get to sit in a room with some of the most creative minds in advertising and simply discuss ideas? It truly is a gift.

IMG_6839It’s our job and responsibility as jurors to make sure that the ideas we award represent the best of our category. I’m very conscious that we are showing the community the way forward in that category so I have to constantly remind myself to not fall in love with the mission but focus on the idea. Was creativity core to its success and effectiveness for the brand.

You can see some clear trends in the print and publishing track. Publishing has certainly seen a resurgence with a lot of printed books being put into the world. From a cookbook that fought to create equality in the kitchen to a children’s book printed entirely from recycled diapers. But the ones that stood out brought something more to the idea like “The Tampon Book” (The Female Company). Not only was it bold and beautifully designed but it completely hacked archaic tax laws on feminine hygiene products by incorporating tampons into a book, an item which is taxed at a lower rate, and forever changing tax laws in Germany.

In newspaper publishing, we saw newspapers become change agents. Whether challenging journalists on how they report on public shootings in “The Inevitable News” (Area 23) to protecting the rights of women in Lebanon with “The New National Anthem” (Nahar Newspaper) that included women in the lyrics for the first time in its anthems history. Newspapers have become a powerful source of change – going beyond the responsibility of reporting the truth to changing the narrative entirely.

We also saw print flex its muscles this year and show us that it can be the catalyst for a much bigger integrated idea. From a spark to start a fashion movement like Diesel’s “Return before wearing” or a conversation to unite us,  print proved it could leap off a page and make an impact beyond it.

Juror Pick:
Xbox’s “Birth of Gaming Tourism” by McCann
Country: UK