Raahil Chopra
Jun 27, 2022

Cannes Lions 2022: What keeps chief creative officers awake at night?

Impact BBDO’s Ali Rez, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York’s Amy Ferguson and Droga5’s Scott Bell discussed lessons learnt from the pandemic, challenges the creative folks in advertising face, and more…

From left: Aitken, Bell, Ferguson and Rez
From left: Aitken, Bell, Ferguson and Rez
On day five of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Ali Rez, CCO – MENAP, Impact BBDO, Amy Ferguson, CCO, TBWA\Chiat\Day New York, and Scott Bell, CCO, Droga5, stated the challenges the advertising industry faces currently.
Pandemic learnings
Rez spoke about what he learned from the pandemic. Among the pieces of work that impressed him was Hindustan Unilever’s ‘H for Handwashing’.
“The industry can create a lot of beautiful things that came out during the pandemic. We learnt a lot of lessons too. Some were more obvious, like how we pivoted and figured out ways of remote working. Then, we saw campaigns like Unilever’s ‘H for Handwashing’, along with one that we did which widened the prayer mat for Muslims. A lot of these campaigns focussed on empathy and authenticity. Now, we are a lot truer in how we talk to our audience and are working on campaigns that make a difference to them.” he said.
Using creativity to transform businesses
Lucy Aitken, head – content, Lions Intelligence, who moderated the talk, then asked Bell to share whether clients can use creativity to solve business problems.
Bell stated that businesses must look to their creative teams because they are ‘problem solvers’.
“At Droga5, we always say creativity helps our clients punch above their weight. A lot of times, we apply creativity just to communications. But you can use it for any part of our client’s businesses and make it more effective. Clients come to us to future-proof their business and help them with issues like climate change to create tubular meat. At the end of the day, creatives are just problem solvers. A creative won’t sleep until the problem is solved. So tap into creativity to transform businesses and not just stick to making ads,” he explained.
Client-agency relationship
Ferguson compared the different stages of an agency-client partnership to how a couple’s dating relationship evolves.
“The secret sauce for long-standing relations is respect. Agency client relations are like dating. In the beginning, it could be awkward and nervous. Then, you get to know each other and see some quirks. Then if you’re together, you can get to the magic spot and commit. Then, better insightful strategy and creativity can be found. Longevity helps you get there,” she said.
The chat was followed by a quick-fire round for each of the creatives:
How to get most of your team in three words? Make it fun
What would you say to your younger self? You’re better than you think you are
Creativity is? My job
One trait you value most in colleagues? Trust
A buzzword you would banish forever? Ladder-up
Describe a typical work day in three words? Lots of meetings
What excites you about the next generation of creative talent? They think differently than myself
What inspired you to become a creative? The only thing I can do
The biggest challenge facing the industry? Relevancy
How do you relax? I have three kids under the age of five. So relaxing isn’t in my life, but they help get me away from work and turn off
The sharpest skill you bring to the table? Problem-solving
Your superpower? I know when people need a hug
Three words to describe a creative leader? Energy, empathy, rule-breaking
A new piece of tech or platform that excites you? TikTok
Where in the world, would the most interesting creative work be coming from? New York
What skills do you look for while hiring? Exciting – bring the energy
What have you learned in the last two years? People bring so much to the job
How can remote working happen effectively? Hope that your kids are in school
How can the industry get more people to consider a career in creativity? Work smarter and faster, and not work sometimes
What’s your festival highlight? As a South Asian, I love the Unfiltered History Tour that takes on the British Museum
Which Grand Prix stuck with you this year? Vice Media's 'Unfiltered History Tour'
What learning will you take back to office? Reduce the drinking
The sharpest skill you bring to the table? Organisation
Oddest place your career has taken you? North Korea
What’s most important – faster, better or cheaper? Better
How do you describe your role to friends and family? I just say I make ads
Your superpower? Being able to answer such questions
The best thing about being back in Cannes? Meeting people
What inspires you? My son who is five and loves breaking things
Three challenges in your day job? Trying not to burn out, doing better than yesterday and finding time to help everybody
Campaign India

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