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Opinion and Insight
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Adfest Grand Jury President Jeremy Craigen on Work That Speaks to Local People

LBB Editorial, 6 months, 2 weeks ago

Laura Swinton talks to the Innocean Worldwide CCO on his experience overseeing judging at Adfest

Adfest Grand Jury President Jeremy Craigen on Work That Speaks to Local People

Innocean Worldwide’s global CCO Jeremy Craigen is in Thailand for the first time to oversee judging at Adfest 2016. The Adfest virgin has been soaking up insight at one of the region’s most authentically Asian festivals and has been making the most of the chilled Pattaya setting.

As the Grand Jury president, Jeremy has been flitting between juries to give advice as well as heading up the Innova and Lotus Roots categories. Lotus Roots is an award that recognises culturally specific pieces of work and it’s something he has found particularly rewarding to judge.

“It’s one of the joys of coming here. I wanted to promote work that talks to local people in Australasia or around Asia Pacific rather than work that talks to awards juries, which is what I think that more international panels end up doing,” he says. “I saw some wonderful work out of India, out of Thailand, out of Indonesia. It was a real pleasure. Whether it wins anywhere else, I don’t really care. I’m here to make sure that great work wins at Adfest.”

Having observed all of the other award juries, Jeremy’s also seen a wider theme emerge across categories. “What I’ve found fascinating about this week is that for three days I wasn’t actually judging but I was sitting in on all the different juries. You were seeing masters of their own disciplines, but actually they were all having the same conversations, apart from maybe the designers. The film people were talking like the print people, who were talking like the media guys and the interactive guys. It all goes back to the idea.”

However, for the gregarious Mr Craigen, being on the periphery of the jury debates has proved challenging. “It’s slightly frustrating being in a room but not being able to say anything. A couple of juries did ask me to speak about certain pieces of work… and I did demote a gold to a silver,” he says.

Before judging started, Jeremy also made sure to encourage discussion and mutual respect in the juries. He was particularly keen to make sure that those jurors with less confident English or who were relying on interpreters also had a voice in the debate.

“I had to address the juries and what I tried to promote was this idea of discussion and respecting your fellow juror. It’s a very subjective business we’re in and not everyone is going to like what you like. And the other thing was: don’t be afraid to change your mind. It’s a sign of strength not weakness. I also talked about the importance of discussion. Get the first day over as quickly as you can with the private judging because when you talk about stuff is when you learn. And I only want to judge if I’m going to learn something.”

The overall quality of the entries has been high, says Jeremy, and it looks like the audience at the award shows on Friday and Saturday night should be in for a treat. “I’ve been really pleasantly surprised. The winner of the Grand Prix in film is outstanding.”