You can stuff your billions of impressions, winners in the Direct Lions have to demonstrate that they are: “Inspiring action and delivering measurable results.” And that’s why MRM//McCann chairwoman and chief creative officer Nicky Bullard may have freaked out a few of her workmates when she found out she was to be jury president of the category for 2019.
LBB's Alex Reeves directed some questions at her ahead of the awards and got some responses that will hopefully inspire you to action.
LBB> What were your initial thoughts when you heard about and were invited to preside over the Direct jury?
Nicky> Obviously delighted. I may have danced around the office a bit. I’ve judged this category before and loved every minute of it. You are seeing some of the most wonderful creative work in the world. And in this category, that work has to have worked. Which makes it all the more brilliant.
LBB> In your president’s message you said this "will be the year when those people who have never totally understood Direct totally will" – how do you hope to define it?
Nicky> The work has to be based on real audience insight, made me feel something, has asked the audience to do something and the entrant has to prove that the audience has done it.
LBB> What are you hoping to see from the entries this year? How has the pre-judging been going so far?
Nicky> It’s been very interesting – and frustrating. As well as incredible work, obvs, I want to see less impressions and more active responses.
LBB> What’s your favourite direct marketing of all time?
Nicky> Wow what a question. Like a favourite song! One of my faves was Sweetie for Terre Des Hommes. The craft was off the scale. The targeting genius. The results, well, they don’t get much better than convicting paedophiles. Brilliant, important work. Also, I’ve always loved Trial by Timeline for Amnesty International. Hyper personalised marketing that totally puts you in the shoes of the subjects. There’s some cool stuff this year so I may have another favourite or two on the list!
LBB> Last year’s Grand Prix went to the Palau Pledge – is there anything in that project that you'll be looking for in the work this year?
Nicky> Yeah physical action, so not just awareness.
LBB> Is there one piece of work that you can see being the big winner this year? If so, what is it and why?
Nicky> Aside from all MWG entries? Ha! BlindMeters. A genius way to show just what idiots we are when we text and drive. Beautifully crafted and interactive.
LBB> What words of guidance will you be sharing with the jury to get them in the right headspace?
Nicky> Forget what you’ve heard or read about any of the campaigns we judge. Go with your gut.
LBB> What do you think are going to be the biggest talking points of Cannes this year?
Nicky> The power of voice.
LBB> Are there any less established markets that you can see performing particularly well? What are they and why? Can you offer some work examples from these regions?
Nicky> Hagglebot for Flipkart from India is interesting, a lot of fun and a whole new and relevant way to use voice. And our Shanghai office has just done some cool work with Amazon – matching your personal character data to characters in books, and suggesting titles to encourage more literature sales in China.
LBB> How will you be spending the rest of your time in Cannes? Are there any events or talks you’re eager to attend?
Nicky> I think I’m going to be locked away for most of it. But if I do escape I’ll be talking, talking, talking. About the work, of course, not just the gossip!