Ramsey Naja is chief creative officer at JWT MEA
“As we roll into the Cannes week, one of the things to keep in mind isn’t just the kind of creative work that will make us eat our laptops with envy or alternatively short-circuit their keyboards with saliva, but, more interestingly, the minds behind it. Personally, I hate people passing judgement – good or bad – on Cannes winners. This, after all, is the Big One and, as I keep telling my team, they have been deemed to be the best by a collective mind that is far better than ours. Now, you may argue as to the merits and claims of other contenders but, frankly, we’d all be better off looking at how we can all do better.
The key, when reviewing Cannes winners, is to put two questions to the agency – one to the creatives and the other to planners: “How did they think this up?” and perhaps more importantly, “What kind of brief led
to it?” This will normally contribute to eliminate infuriating comments by people who think they are the next Marcello Serpa, but whose portfolios have the richness of a Taliban art school end-of-year show. However, and more to the point, it will provide a welcome platform for debate, the kind of which is considerably more conducive to better thinking and, indeed, better work, than pointless blasé conversations.
You see, looking at award winners like teenage boys inadvertently locked up overnight in the Festival of Pornography, contributes to creating work that will feel familiar at best, as opposed to something that changes the game again. This year’s great work at Cannes is yesterday’s work. It doesn’t necessarily represent a pointer to the future – it just says where the current summit lies. The best in the world, as represented by Grand Prix winners, is immediately history the moment it is displayed. Few, if any, of past Grand Prix pieces would win the same prize again. This is why it is more useful to identify trends in Cannes, by going forensic on what makes people stand up and notice, than try to emulate a formula that will be quickly obsolete.”
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