As Tim Castree prepares for his role as Jury President of the Media Lions for the upcoming Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, he hopes to see entries that reflect how brands have effectively married creativity and context.
His first-time judging gig comes after the Cannes Lions reached a tipping point in 2017 as some agencies pushed back on the cost and scale of the venerable event. “It’s going to be a little bit more subdued this year,” Castree, the Global CEO of GroupM’s Wavemaker agency, says in this interview with Beet.TV.
Nonetheless, he’s “excited to dig into the work.” With pre-judging efforts already under way, “I’m up to my eyeballs in looking at work at the moment.”
Castree believes that there’s a “simple mission” to Cannes: celebrating the context of creativity from both a macro—the “zeitgeist” of what’s happening around the world—and micro scale. About the former, he points to all the “excitement and change going on in the world,” along with disruption and cause-related movements.
“There’s a lot of places and spaces for brands to get involved in the conversation in the larger context of all the excitement and change going on in the world,” Castree says. “Great brands love to be part of bigger conversations.”
As a judge of award entries, he’s interested in the contextual aspects of media and “how brands take advantage of what is going on in our times and to be part of those conversations in ways that are interesting and engaging.”
On the micro side of things, Castree talks about addressability, data and targeting and “the context of one to one.” Combining the macro with the micro provides “great opportunities for brands to show how they marry creativity and context” to drive business outcomes.
He brings a particular view to his judging duties when it comes to entries that might stretch the strict definition of a Cannes media entry, noting that “media entries come from everywhere.”
So he will be on the lookout for entries that “get stacked with a lot of things that aren’t always about media. I’ve seen a little bit of that already, to be honest. Ideas matter, but there’s a lot of other places at Cannes for ideas to get recognized and rewarded.”
He feels that this year’s event will be more subdued than last year because “agencies have pulled back a little bit. Without Publicis there it’s going to make a difference,” he says in reference to the holding company’s voluntary absence from Cannes 2018.
In any case, he thinks it’s “appropriate to reset a little bit and refocus on the central themes of the power of creativity to move business and to move people.” Distractions at previous Cannes festivals have included celebrities, luxury and scenery, “which are fun and wonderful but that really can distract from the central focus and message of what Cannes is all about.”
For Wavemaker, Cannes is about the “density of intellect, the density of talent, the density of great thought leaders, thinkers. For us that’s about media, content and technology and how the marriage of those three things are really creating the future of media.”
This video is part of The Road to Cannes, a preview series of topics to be addressed at Cannes Lions. The series is presented by FreeWheel, a Comcast company. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.