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Jack Klues: Media Jury President


Chairman of Vivaki on transformative ideas and painted rocks at Cannes

Jack Klues: Media Jury President

LBB> What Words of advice will you be giving to the jury this year?
JK> I think in the category of media, maybe more so than the more established categories, its complex and I think we’re still trying to define what creativity in media is. For me the message that I’ll be giving to the jurors, without being overly prescriptive, is that every entry is to be judged on three criteria. One is strategic insight and innovation, one is execution and activation and lastly the strength of the idea is judged on the results that it can contribute.

There are three components that need to be assessed for every entry. I think the difficulty is on trying to provide guidance so we can consistently interpret what each of those components means to all of us. I’m going to try my best to provide 10 key words, three to four on each criteria, and to use these key words to guide all of us. If we can all agree on key words hopefully we can all have a consistent approach to the judging process. For example in terms of strategic insight one of the words might be ‘transformative’ – did the idea change how the client did business? 

In activation I think it’s important that we identify a word that they are ‘scalable’. I did jury work about eleven years ago. It felt like in those times we had a tendency to evaluate the media work upon its cleverness but if the idea couldn’t be repeatable or learned from or become a new standard for the industry. I felt we awarded some cute but small ideas, and a few of us back then started to call these ideas ‘painted rocks’. I don’t want to award painted rocks this year.


LBB> What are you personally hoping to see from the entries this year?
JK> For me personally, what I would like us to award and celebrate in terms of creativity in media are the innovative, interesting, connective bridging between the ‘what’, which is the commercial message, and the ‘where’, which would be the media plan. For me I think the power I would like to see us award is media as connective bridge between the ‘what’ and the ‘where’.


LBB> Do you see media as being central to creative these days?
JK> Yes, and if not central then a critical component. In order for these ideas to be as powerful as they can they need to be amplified, so that its interesting and relevant to the audiences they’re aiming for. If I was going to give one message to this group it’s that we as media professionals should not be afraid of recognising the blur between creative messaging and media planning from a buying perspective because they are inexorably linked. 


LBB> Reading through your president’s message, you say that traditionally media has been a place for tough negotiation and metrics and data, but you also spoke about imagination and the humanity and empathy needed to create successful media plans.

JK> Certainly we as media professionals need to make sure that the right side of our brain works as hard as the left side. I do want to emphasise that at the heart of everything is the consumer – and if you believe that you need to have a strong understanding of human behaviour as it relates to media consumption and how to leverage that in new and interesting ways. That’s what I mean about the human angle.

LBB> And how do you see the relationship between media agencies and creative agencies? How is it evolving?
JK> It needs to become closer, absolutely. We live in a world where I don’t believe any one agency, no matter what resources it has, can satisfy a client’s every-growing and comprehensive brief. It requires creative specialisation, it requires media specialisation, and sometimes it requires direct response specialisation. All of it requires a technological spine or infrastructure to work from. All of it requires the data to make fact-based decisions and recommendations. I most definitely believe that the specialist agencies of today – whether they go away or not, which I doubt – need to work in collaboration going forward.

LBB>Outside of the jury room, is there anything in particular you’re looking forward to this year?
JK> The last two years I have to confess I barely got in the Palais, there were so many meetings with clients and media partners. Cannes has become a great platform to welcome and meet clients in addition to the celebration that Cannes is all about. I can’t help but feel happy – one of the benefits of being in the business as long as I have is that as you walk along the Croisette you’re bound to see a familiar face every block or so. I’ve got my immediate family in tow, so while I’m labouring in the jury room they’ll be on the beach!



LBB> What’s your favourite spot in Cannes?
JK> That’s a hard one! I do have a favourite restaurant here called L’Affable. It’s a terrific little restaurant that does international cuisine, I think it’s run by a husband and wife and it’s just magnificent. And what person during the Cannes Advertising festival doesn’t spend a little bit of time during daylight hours and post daylight hours on the porch of the Carlton Hotel? You’ve got to take advantage of getting business done and meeting old friends in the one corner of the world, I can’t think of a better place than that patio.

LBB> It’s the 60th anniversary of the Cannes Advertising Festival – where do you think the industry will be in 60 years’ time?
JK> I think what we’ll see in the future is that premiere advertising festivals such as Cannes will still be here in 60 years. I don’t doubt it, and I don’t doubt it because the participants will still be the same as they are today – agencies, media, creatives, direct response. 

There probably will no longer be categories like Cyber or Digital as everything has already become that, right? I don’t know the role of digital specialist agencies 60 years from now. Agencies will still be there. Clients will still need us to bring sense to an ever-evolving media world, to bring them very clever, innovative ideas whether in the ‘what’ or the ‘where’ sphere. In terms of the festival itself some categories will go away as they won’t be relevant any more and some new ones might be added. The one I mentioned to Terry Savage just this afternoon was a Lion competition for user-generated content. There’s an increasing amount of creativity from me and you as consumers beyond what we do as a professional people. I don’t know whether Terry thought that was a good idea or not but I do think categories will evolve as the media landscape evolves. 


But I think the bigger answer I’d like to leave with our question is will the festival be relevant 60 years from now, and I would believe most definitely yes. 


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