Q> Have you been on the Cannes Lions jury before?
Till Hohmann, Managing Creative Director of Serviceplan> Yes, this is my third time actually. Interestingly, it has been for many different regions and across very different juries. Many years ago (while ECD of Memac Ogilvy Dubai/GCC), I represented the Middle East in the Print jury 2010. In 2015 (as ECD global for the GSK business run out of Grey Singapore), I represented Singapore as member of the Consumer Health Lions. This year, I’m part of the German jury members prejudging Direct Lions for Serviceplan.
Q> What is your best Cannes anecdote so far?
TH> Having been in Cannes for 12 years in a row, I can recall many, many wonderful and weird anecdotes. Some are too bizarre to be made public, others simply substantiate all the clichés about Cannes – like the totally wasted famous director crashing the rented Ferrari convertible into a fountain in front of Martinez and then just wandering off as if nothing happened. Priceless, but also a bit out of the times.
More interestingly, I feel a huge shift since about five years. Cannes has gotten a lot more dense, serious and relevant. There are more clients, more tech specialists, a much more diverse group of exhibitors and participants.The anecdotes I really remember are actually fantastic speeches like Anna Wintour's last year, the talks by Coke in recent years, the sessions by Cindy Gallop, and all the session by P&G. The new Cannes music and entertainment events which are all about the importance of popular culture and how to become a part of it. In these talks and events lies the true magic of Cannes. Those talks push me for the next few months and give direction to thinking and working.
And then, of course, there is one other thing: one of the biggest moments personally has been to get up on stage to receive a Lion. It’s priceless. And guess what: it is still exciting every time… No, it’s not the only thing we work for – but honestly: it does make you feel sensationally proud.
Q> What are you most looking forward to about the experience?
TH> Of course, I will endeavour to meet my many industry friends and colleagues from around the world and my past postings – simply to reconnect. I look forward to seeing the Innovation Lions presentations. I’m excited about Music and Entertainment Lions and events.
Q> What was your reaction when you got the message that you were a jury member/president?
TH> I was very happy to have been chosen yet again. Since the guys at Cannes track your voting behaviour, I must have been a good boy in the past…
Q> What will you pay particular attention to when evaluating campaigns in your category?
TH> I prejudged hundreds of direct cases (mailings, data-driven concepts, use of mobile in direct and art-direction for direct). I tried to make sure that the work actually had a real direct angle and business relevance. All too often, some work just dazzles you with a great idea and a whole lot of “media buzz” it created. That’s amazing and wonderful but is that actually direct marketing? Obviously, I looked for a great idea and perfect execution – but when it came to giving the higher marks, I also wanted to make sure that this was a case with a real direct marketing angle.
Q> Which Serviceplan campaign do you think is a hot contender for a Cannes Lions this year?
TH> I think the Ehinger Kraftrad work is great because it is amazing craft and wonderful execution with huge relevance for a small brand. To me, it's one of the most well-crafted pieces we have made – a true example also of “German Design and Production Magic”. From a media and impact point of view, I actually like the work by Paris – the live poster used to show pedestrians the danger of not looking out for cars when crossing the road. Very smart technical setup and huge media impact. And of course, I love the cross-promotion for Salomon shoes which activates people to not just watch sports but actually get out to run – it is a launch concept for a new shoe and its magic because there is a code hidden in the sole of the shoe. You could only redeem the code (and get rewards) by running enough to make the code visible, that’s clever.
Q> Which outstanding campaigns from other agencies do you think might pick up a Cannes Lions?
TH> Well, the big winner is likely to be “Fearless Girl” across a million categories. And indeed, I too love it. It shows how today, communication is about finding ways to influence popular discussion and entering media via topical relevance – as opposed to advertising messages. On the other hand, I also do like the work by Snickers this year (various nice cases). And I saw something remarkable. IBM Watson clearly was on a mission last year to make many great cases around the world. They may not all win super big, but all of them to me are super interesting.
Q> Do you have any tips on where to eat/what to do in the evenings in Cannes for those who haven't been there before?
TH> Interestingly, I end up eating Kebab with a great friend from Brazil every year. He says, “There ain’t no good Kebab in Sao Paulo”, so I just come along. But I would not recommend this to be followed…. I do like the steak tartar at the New York close to the Palais for lunch. In the evening with a group of friendly people, I find it nice to venture a bit to the fringes of Cannes: either to the interior or a bit to the right and left along the coast - just to get out of the madness for a few hours. If you like fish, this is a great place: Fred l’Ecailler; 7 Place de l'Étang, 06400 Cannes, France.