“Amazing creative that drives results is the fuel that powers our whole industry,” reads Fernando Machado’s president’s message for Cannes Lions 2018. The global chief marketing officer for Burger King - which was named marketer of the year in 2017 - is presiding over this year’s Creative Effectiveness category, intriguing for the fact that each campaign entered has already been awarded at Cannes in the past. Fernando and his jury’s challenge will be to recognise which of these previous Cannes Lion-winning campaigns have actively driven business growth.
LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with him to find out how he’s been preparing himself and his jury for the task at hand.
LBB> How are you preparing yourself for your time in the jury room at Cannes?
FM> I am drinking as much rosé as possible prior to the festival as I probably won’t be able to do that as much due to my judging commitment. Jokes aside, as jury president my preparation is focused on making sure that we have the right mindset and environment within the team that will judge all the great work we’ll be awarding.
LBB> What are you hoping to see from the entries this year? How has the pre-judging been going so far?
FM> The great thing about Creative Effectiveness is seeing how amazing, brave and insightful creative drives results. This correlation can help convince clients to go for it and agencies to aim higher. The pre-judging is intense as we have lots of cases to read, watch and score. And since all the campaigns have already got some sort of recognition in Cannes, the bar is set very high.
LBB> What words of advice will you be giving to your jury?
FM> Let’s reward brave and disruptive work which drives clear in-market results.
LBB> In the past I’ve seen Creative Effectiveness labelled as “the [Cannes] Festival’s most important Lion” - what are your thoughts on that?
FM> I am sure each jury president will have something positive to say about the category he or she is judging. It is a huge honour to get recognition in Cannes. And that’s true for all categories. What is so special about Creative Effectiveness is that all the pieces have already gotten some sort of recognition in the previous year. So the bar is high. And, ultimately, we are all here to deliver results. Our industry will not succeed if we can’t consistently show that creativity drives results. And that’s what this category measures.
LBB> To judge Creative Effectiveness, you really need to see hard facts of how a campaign drove business results - what kind of challenges does this bring to the judging process?
FM> We probably have more materials to go through than in most of the other categories. And the results always merit a discussion when we are evaluating who will receive which award. I think the biggest challenge is to compare things / ideas that sometimes have different business objectives and scale.
LBB> The transcendent ‘big’ ideas are relatively easy enough to spot, but some work is smart in a more nuanced way, for example work that plays on the subtleties of a particular culture (the challenges of writing copy in Chinese might be different to writing in English or French, for example). When you’re leading a jury, how do you give space to these ideas in the jury room?
FM> I think it starts with having a diverse enough jury. A jury that has proper gender representation, geographic scope, split between agency and client, etc. When you have a diverse group of people who are experienced enough and have the right mindset (fully engaged), it becomes easier to spot and understand even the work which may not be so close to your reality. A diverse jury will help diminish unconscious bias and uncover potential hidden gems that wouldn’t be recognised otherwise.
LBB> I’m intrigued to know how it feels for you, as a client, to be leading a jury at Cannes this year? Has that crossed your mind at all?
FM> I am extremely honoured with the opportunity. This is a dream come true. I hope I can do a good job helping the amazing team that we’ll have in the jury to choose the campaigns to award this year.
LBB> What do you think will be the big talking points at this year’s festival?
FM> I think the talking points will be a natural evolution of topics around diversity (especially gender), technology (machine learning, AI, AR, VR, etc.) and big / bold ideas. It is also exciting to see Google as Creative Marketer of the Year. I am sure we will see technology present everywhere as a result of that.
LBB> How will you be spending the rest of your time in Cannes? Are there any events or talks you’re eager to attend?
FM> I always try to watch as many talks as possible (they are all great) and to connect with as many people as I can (‘cause you end up seeing lots of friends while in Cannes). This year will be particularly busy as I will be presenting on Monday together with DAVID the agency (The Rise of Hackvertising, Lumiere, noon) and judging Creative Effectiveness. But hopefully I will find some time here and there to enjoy the festival too.