Jean-Marie Dru, Chairman of TBWA\Worldwide, is the Jury President for the first ever Creative Effectiveness Lion at Cannes this month. Here he talks about his role.
You’ve attended Cannes a few times now. How much has it changed?
I’ve only missed one Festival since first attending back in 1973. At that time, it was not as prestigious and impactful as it is today. The Americans participated with only a few entries and the Festival was primarily European. Only creatives used to attend. “Creativity” was not really a popular subject among clients, who saw it as a means for agencies to talk among themselves, in their own self-indulgent language. Today it’s very different. Last year at Cannes, there were more people attending from some of the big multinational clients than there were delegates from our network, TBWA. In forty years, Cannes has become everyone’s business.
Now you’re Jury President for the first ever Creative Effectiveness Lion. Is this proof that the debate about creativity and effectiveness has been settled at last?
Creativity sells. But from now on, with the Effectiveness Lions, advertising will be judged on tangible evidence. Our panel will evaluate campaign results in a factual way. ROI will enter into the language of Cannes.
Surely there’s more to effectiveness than numbers?
Don’t forget we’re talking here about “creative effectiveness”. A message that sells, but that is not based on a fresh or breakthrough idea is unlikely to attract our interest. Because Cannes aims first and foremost to reward efficiency achieved through creativity. It should make for some lively debates with my fellow jury members.
How has the digital era changed notions of effectiveness?
Younger generations show interest only in messages that engage them. Otherwise, they just ignore them, or zap. Creativity is no longer optional, it has become recognised as being essential.
If anybody out there is hesitating about coming to Cannes, what would you say to convince them?
It took years for the idea of creativity to become accepted as a source of effectiveness. Cannes has participated in raising that awareness. This is the place where we can see the things that will pave the way forward for our industry; it’s where we can keep ourselves on top of the emerging creative trends, and it’s where we feel the pulse of our industry.