Cannes 2015: How Judy John Is Deciphering Direct as This Year’ Jury President
The Direct category at the Cannes Lions is one of the most interesting in that, in the last ten years, it has been completely revolutionised thanks to technological advancements. The waters of what defines direct and what doesn’t have become murky and it has become trickier and trickier to judge. This year it has been Leo Burnett Canada’s CEO and CCO Judy John’s responsibility to pick out the worthy ones as the category’s jury president. LBB’s Addison Capper caught up with her to find out how she’s getting on.
LBB> How are you preparing yourself for your stint in the jury room at Cannes?
JJ> Light stretching to fight the jet lag and mental fatigue. And dressing in layers, it's always freezing in the room.
LBB> What words of advice will you be giving to your jury?
JJ> I talked about the definition of the Direct Category according to Cannes. I know this is on everyone's mind because in the online prejudging we saw such a range of interpretation of the category. I think we'll have to have a more lively discussion about it again during the shortlist round.
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?
JJ> The jury members are seasoned enough to spot a great idea and to make sure it gets into the shortlist round. During discussions, if there is a juror who can speak to the cultural nuances, I ask them to give us some context or clarification.
LBB> How do you feel the Direct category has evolved over the past 10 years?
JJ> Technology has had a huge influence on the growth of the direct category. Technology allows us to reach and engage consumers in ways we have never been able to in the past.
LBB> What do you hope for/expect from the Canadian industry at this year’s Cannes? How do you feel the local industry there has fared globally in recent years?
JJ> I think there was some really breakthrough work done this year, I hope gets awarded at the show.
Last year, Canada didn't have a great showing but we're usually in there. We always show-up and we punch above our weight for the size of our country. The buzz around Canadian work is usually very good.