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Cannes Lions

Media Lions Jury President Tim Castree on Media in a “Time of Seismic Change”

Wavemaker’s global CEO on his role as Cannes Lions Media jury president, his Sir David Attenborough fandom and the true meaning of Cannes

Media Lions Jury President Tim Castree on Media in a “Time of Seismic Change”

“The Cannes Media Lions celebrate the context of creativity,” writes Tim Castree in his president’s message for Cannes Lions 2018. “Powered by the modern tools of media, that context can be increasingly targeted and personalised. But powered by the major cultural trends shaping the world today, that context can also be writ large into the hearts and minds of deeply connected communities around the world.” It’s with this recognition of the importance of the category that he will preside over his jury in a darkened room in the south of France next week as they recognise the best uses of media by the global creative community for the year.

LBB’s Alex Reeves asked him how he’s preparing himself and his jury for these weighty decisions.

LBB> How are you preparing for the jury room this year?

TC> By keeping an open mind and immersing myself in the work. For all the horror stories of being stuck in the jury room for a week, I’m actually looking forward to taking the time to view and discuss the year’s most amazing campaigns. It’s an exciting time in our industry and I am sure that this will be reflected in the work. 

LBB> What are you looking for in a great media campaign? 

TC> The Media Lions celebrate the context of creativity, a demonstration of the inspiring and innovative implementation of ideas, and so we’ll be looking for campaigns that most reflect these values.

LBB> How is this different in 2018 than previously?

TC> I don’t think that the overarching mission of the Cannes Media Lions has changed since last year but of course the landscape has, so this will affect what is considered winning work. It’s a time of seismic change and I am looking forward to see how brands and agencies are responding through their entries.

LBB> What are the trickiest elements of Media to judge?

TC> Fundamentally this category is about judging creativity in media communications strategy and or the creative use of media, so it’s always tricky to understand what drove the campaign – was it the creative work per se, was it the idea, was it the insight, was it the context and of course did it move the dial for the brand, did it make it famous, did it drive real growth?  These are the questions we’ll be asking and challenging ourselves in the jury room.

LBB> What factors do you feel have affected the category in the past year and how will you and your jury deal with them?

TC> The tools that media experts use continue to change. The fragmentation of media from traditional analogue channels to the mass of IP addressable channels has led to more engaging content being created for a growing multitude of interests and passions, but crucially we’re able to target audiences on a one-to-one basis, delivering personalised messages. However, it’s not only about the power of one-to-one, we also live in a time when the global cultural context is on the move. Powered by social media, people have a voice to react to and shape events and create movements to move society forward. Increasingly, brands are a big part of these conversations and sometimes even leading them. I think we’ll be looking for work that embraces all of these elements. 

LBB> Last year's Media Grand Prix went to the incredibly innovative Jet.com 'Innovating Saving' campaign. Is there anything about that idea that you'll be looking for in entries this year?

TC> This campaign had a bit of everything that you would look for in creative media planning and buying and the creative use of media. It was a media heavy campaign with exceptional digital media insights that cleverly tapped into Super Bowl fever to achieve high impact without huge investment. Perhaps most importantly, the media strategy behind the funny and engaging creative work helped the brand transition from a digital start-up to an ecommerce powerhouse.  

LBB> Obviously you’re going to spend a lot of Cannes 2018 locked inside for jury deliberations… but is there any event or talk that you’re hoping to catch while you’re there?

TC> Cannes has promised us more speakers from brands than ever before so I’m particularly interested to hear these perspectives on the industry, but Cannes also provides global businesses such as Wavemaker with an important opportunity to meet up with colleagues, clients and partners from around the world, and share work and ideas together. I am looking forward to this aspect of the festival. I’m a huge fan of Sir David Attenborough so will be looking to catch up on his talk too.

LBB> Outside of the jury room, what do you think will be the big talking points of Cannes 2018?

TC> I’m sure the talking points of this year’s festival will replicate those that are high on the agenda for the industry, such as how the industry and the work embrace diversity, how we attract, support and develop young talent, how brands and agencies are responding to the effects of technology, data and the wider trends shaping the world. Finally, I hope that it is the winning work that will be getting most of the buzz; ultimately, that is what we’re in Cannes for; to see, discuss and be inspired by the very best work.
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