Hugo Veiga, 2022’s Cannes Lions Mobile category judge and the global CCO of AKQA sees mobile devices - specifically phones in this case - as one of the world’s most democratic technologies, an extension of our bodies that can take anyone anywhere in an instant. But he’s also open and honest about the side effects and potential negativity that our trusty pal in our pocket can lead to.
This is something he looked to make his jury think about while judging at the first in-person Cannes for two years. LBB’s Addison Capper chatted with him to find out more.
LBB> What advice did you give your jury?
Hugo> As members of the jury, we have a huge responsibility to evaluate and award last year’s best work. To be successful, my main request to the group was to allow themselves to change their minds.
Individual criteria plays an important role in the professional journey that led to this invitation. It will be essential for the arguments and conclusions reached as a group. But the criterion is based on preconceptions of what is good or bad and may not value the new. Projects that go beyond definitions.
So, among all the guidelines, the main one was that everyone vote according to what they believe in, but don't kill a great idea just because it doesn't fit into any of the subcategories.
Another fundamental point is that we need everyone to feel comfortable to present their points of view and raise all kinds of questions.
When a group manages to create an environment of proximity, the discussions become richer and more sincere. We know that we will have different points of view and that arguments will get hotter as we move towards the main awards. But keeping the respect and the good share of time between all, we will arrive at the best possible awards.
LBB> How has covid 19 changed behaviours around mobile and the sort of creative that has worked on mobile?
Hugo> When we were all stuck at home, we used our mobile devices to travel around the world or to deliver the world to our door footsteps. M-Commerce evolved, immersive technologies evolved. Our way of living evolved. Although there are not as many pieces that allude to the pandemic like in the last Cannes edition, this year's ideas already respond to habits, needs and innovations born in that period. However, it is good to point out that creativity is timeless and, even in a more technological category like mobile, we find ideas that, in essence, could have been born years ago.
LBB> From a creative standpoint, what’s most exciting about mobile devices and what possibilities do they unlock?
Hugo> When I think about mobile, I think about mobility and connection. Wearables, hardware platforms, product design, software, AR, Bluetooth, they all allow us to reach out to immersive worlds, hack our real world, connect ourselves with distant platforms and create social bonds.
The most democratic mobile device, our phones, are the most important device for the majority of the world's population. It became an extension of the body. A powerful tool for accessing information, security, socialising and fun but, like everything in life, it has its side effects. As a group of judges, we have a responsibility to value ideas that inspire the good use of mobile technology and that reveal the giant potential of its use.
I would be very happy to find ideas that fall into the mobile category, but have the power to represent our industry beyond the category. Ideas that become a platform for future projects. Ideas that inspire new ways of thinking and, above all, behaving as an industry.
Mobile is a huge platform for making the world move forward.
LBB> It's the first in person Cannes since the pandemic. How do you think that’s going to shape your thinking about your category in particular?
Hugo> In the last two years, I was honoured to be a jury member of several international festivals and, although it was an excellent opportunity to dive deep into the best work made around the world, we didn't have the time to discuss each project deeply.
Now that we're back to in-person discussions, I'm looking forward to having the time to discuss all the main candidates for the Cannes Lions. It takes a huge effort to produce a project and its case study. Plus… it’s expensive, especially for markets with undervalued currency. The minimum we can do is to give them the right time to study and have a group discussion about it.
LBB> Cannes is also a time of celebration. What will you be celebrating this year?
Hugo> Even when our work is not recognised with a Lion, I always win at Cannes. I meet friends that work across the world and I celebrate their wins as if they were mine. This year, I won’t be able to celebrate as much because jury president duties demand good nights of sleep and less rosé. Though, the honour of chairing the mobile category and getting to know my fellow jury members better deserves already a huge celebration.