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Cannes Lions Special Section

#CannesLions2016: SA judges Cannes not wait!

With South Africa's Cannes Lions judges already settled in the French Riviera's glitziest city (or flying their way in as you read this), we caught up with them all for a final check-in before judging gets underway, on what they're most looking forward to from the world's largest gathering of global advertising professionals.

The eight day-long Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is regarded as an annual highlight on the calendar of creatives the world over. Here’s what our nine-strong South African judging contingent is most looking forward to…

They want it all

Emma Carpenter is creative director at Accenture Interactive South Africa. As a first-timer to Cannes, she’s looking forward to absolutely everything, particularly the mobile-related events, as well as the first day of meeting the other jury members, the press conference and of course the awards ceremonies. She’s hoping for a complete sensory overload of creative inspiration.

Nathan Reddy, chief creative officer and founder of Grid Worldwide Branding and Design, loves the feeling of being in Cannes, as he always comes back home feeling like he can take on the world creatively, so he’ll be looking for a mix of a few things to twist his brain again.

Sunset in Cannes. © Manjik –
Sunset in Cannes. © Manjik –

Suhana Gordhan – creative director at FCB Africa and member of the Loeries board, is looking forward to every aspect of Cannes Lions and is already experiencing massive FOMO before it starts, as she sees Cannes as a place for overstimulation. “It’s a giant jellybean bowl of inspiring people with great stories to tell.” She’s looking forward to being totally immersed, and some of the speakers on her ‘must-see’ list are: Will Smith; directors Alejandro Inarritu and Oliver Stone; David Copperfield; CNN anchor and host Anderson Cooper; Brian Chesky – cofounder and CEO of Airbnb; David Droga; FCB’s own global chief creative officer, Susan Credle; and Facebook Africa’s Nunu Ntshingila.

Marc Taback, CEO of Initiative Media South Africa, is also looking forward to talks by Anderson Cooper, David Copperfield, Gwyneth Paltrow and Will Smith.

That Iggy Pop celeb swagger

Rob McLennan, creative founding partner of King James II says that sadly he’ll miss most of the talks as the film jury is the last to stop judging during the seminar week, but he says, “I’d cut off parts of myself to see Iggy Pop.”

Eoin Welsh, chief creative officer of Havas Worldwide Johannesburg agrees with McLennan on that Iggy Pop FOMO. Jonathan Beggs, chief creative officer for Saatchi & Saatchi, shares the sentiments that the most amazing presentations at Cannes are often not by ad people, which is why he’s looking forward to hearing about innovation from the people and companies who are at the cutting edge, as well as seeing what the big agencies, networks, media owners and clients have to say. That’s why he’ll definitely catch Kate Stanners (Saatchi & Saatchi Global ECD) and the network’s New Director’s Showcase… but you’ll also find him in the queue for Iggy as well as Brian Eno, Alejandro Iñárritu, Spike, Will, and Gwyneth.

The judging and the young 'uns

That’s where the celeb hype ends, with Fran Luckin, chief creative officer of Grey Africa, looking forward to the judging process most of all. She loves judging and deems it “the best way to experience Cannes”, as she gets to meet some of the world’s top creative people and sit with them for five days talking about ideas, learning so much.

Jenny Glover, executive creative director for TBWA/Hunt/Lascaris, is not a fan of the ‘big celebrity talks’ either. She prefers to “snoop around the talks that happen in the smaller rooms”, as there are always incredible speakers sharing great ideas, without the flash or sweaty queues and has watched a few of her personal heroes in these informal sessions. That’s why, like Beggs, she always goes to the new directors’ showcase, because it’s an excellent way to see emerging talent and view experimental film styles. She adds that Cannes affords you the best overview of the global industry, so she tries to see not just the winning work, but also as much of the shortlisted work as possible.

Little wonder those of us not attending are positively green with envy, but fear not as following the happenings on Biz is the next best thing to being live in Cannes. Click here for the full Cannes Lions content programme and watch this space for exclusive insights as the 2016 Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity unfolds.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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