Finding our creative North Star


On Sunday June 25th, I met my fellow judges for the first time live. Two days later we walked away from this experience praising one another for the level of respect, honesty, integrity, and guts demonstrated in ensuring we awarded medals to the right work. The process worked. Nine individuals from nine countries – who have never worked together – locked away in a room with one common goal: to recognize and celebrate creative brilliance from across the globe in the Creative Data category. And while it was a grueling experience having to choose from 57 shortlisted campaigns across 10 sub-categories to land on 15 medals, it was magical how beautifully we came together to make that happen.

We dismantled each campaign like a jigsaw puzzle to make sure each piece was a perfect match to the idea and that it fit perfectly into the submitted category. We studied the data with a keen eye and did not allow the alure of technology sway us from focusing on the application and creative use of that data. And the more we spent digging into the case and discussed its creativity, use of data, the insights, and the outcome, the more we started to recognize our formula as a united team that would propel one campaign over the other. We were united in purpose. We needed to be tough at the right times. And we needed to be humble when it came time to yield to the vote. To respect the voices and experience in the room.

This experience, for me, highlights the importance of seeking out and gaining new perspectives on an idea. To see the value in multiple viewpoints. And the need for collaboration at a greater scale than we may be used to. As problem solvers – whether creative, strategy, account services, data intelligence – we must go high, wide, and deep on an idea to make sure it delivers across the entire campaign and that its north star shines bright from any vantage point.

I stand by all our decision with confidence. But most importantly, I have gained nine new industry colleagues who made this year’s Cannes Lions experience a highlight of my career. 

To my fellow and esteemed judges and friends, you were simply outstanding – starting with our amazing President Samantha Hernandez, who helped us come together with one vison, one goal and one purpose. Thank you all for making this experience one I will never forget.

Samantha Hernández Díaz, Chief Strategy Officer, GUT Mexico City, Mexico
Ahmed Alsahhaf, CEO, MBC Media Solutions, MMS, Saudi Arabia
Felipe Silva, Partner & Creative Director, GANA, Brazil
Franco Luca, Country Manager, RAPP, Argentina
Irene Joshy, Head of Creative, APAC, Kantar, APAC
Jatinder Singh, Global Head of Data & Analytics, Accenture, Global, New York
Jocelyn Tse, Chief Strategy Officer, UM, Mainland China
Marie Clayton, Managing Director, Annalect, UK
Sukesh Nayak, Chief Creative Officer, Ogilvy, India