#CannesLions2021: "Even a global pandemic can't stop creativity " - Fran Luckin
Fran Luckin, CCO at Grey Africa, is on this year’s Cannes Lions Outdoor Lions jury.
Luckin is also the current chairperson of the Loerie Awards for 2020/21. She has 25 years’ industry experience across all economic sectors, having begun her career as a copywriter at The Jupiter Drawing Room, after which she moved to TBWA / Hunt Lascaris in the late nineties, where she became a creative director. In 2003, she joined Ogilvy Johannesburg, where she became ECD in 2008, and later a member of the Board. In 2012, she was appointed to the 15-member Ogilvy Worldwide Creative Council. She has worked across traditional and digital advertising, having served as ECD of Mirum South Africa from 2013 to 2016. And she joined Grey as CCO later that year.
Together with the executive team, Fran has helped to transform the creative output of the agency from traditional advertising into a fully integrated multimedia, digital and social communications offering.
She is an Exco member of South Africa’s Creative Circle, and a member of Grey’s Global Creative Board. She was voted Woman of the Year 2019 in the MarkLives Agency Leaders Poll, and Runner Up in the 2020 MarkLives Most Admired Creative Leaders Poll.
She has judged international and South African creative awards shows (including D&AD, the Clio Awards, The One Show, and three tours of duty judging the Cannes Lions) – and has also served three times on the judging panel for the Apex Awards.
In 2017 she served as Jury President of the Print and Publishing Jury at the Cannes Lions – the first female Jury President from Africa.
She has an MBA from the Berlin School of Creative Leadership, and has served three years as chairman of the Academic Board of the Red & Yellow School of Business.
Here, Luckin shares what she’s most looking forward to from this year’s judging, sharing a few of her Cannes Lions-related highlights over the years and what SA judges bring to the global creative mix…
Tell us more about yourself and why you believe you were selected – your judging experience and so on.
I'm CCO at Grey Africa, where I've been for about five years now. I've been lucky enough to have judged at Cannes a number of times before (once as a Jury President), but really the thrill never wears off. It always feels like a privilege and not something earned or deserved. It feels like you've won the lottery each time.
Where were you when you found out you'd be one of this year's Cannes Lions jurors, and what was your reaction to the news?
Sitting in a Microsoft Teams meeting probably! I was really excited and honoured. Cannes judging is always such a great experience. The Lions team put so much effort into making the judging sessions really productive, interactive and positive.
Following the postponement of last year's awards, the juries will be judging both years' of work and awarding Lions for 2020 and 2021. Firstly, how did you respond to the news of the postponement and how do you feel about judging two-years’ worth of work?
I think postponing the awards last year was the right thing to do, although I think it made the reality of the scale of the pandemic really hit home for many people. It became undeniable that the world as we knew it really was being turned upside down. But the Lions Live was really top quality and superbly produced and I think it reassured everyone that the Lions will never die. With regard to judging two years' worth of work, I'm going to follow the strategy I always use with online judging: Get on top of it early and stay on top of it. And keep copious notes.
Share a few of your favourite Cannes Lions-related moments over the years – either from attending personally or agency winning work-related.
Honestly the best times I've had have always come from judging, from the relationships forged in the judging rooms, to the heated discussions at 2am, to the little in-jokes that develop among the jurors over the days, and, of course, the copious amounts of rosé consumed after judging sessions when we all just relax together as a jury and let off steam.
I think we're very honest and direct. We speak our minds but always with a sense of humour and we're not precious about ourselves and our work. I think in a judging room that really helps keep the conversation mature and constructive.
Give us a glimpse of the specific criteria you’re looking for in judging this year's entries.
I'm looking for surprising work. Something that's a delightful relief from the lockdown tunnel vision of the last year.
We've had an incredibly unique situation on the planet where everyone, everywhere has been affected by this pandemic and I expect a large number of entries will be work created in response to that pandemic. What I'm looking forward to is seeing the great work that came out of that. Because there will be some work that rises above the rest and shows that even a global pandemic can't stop creativity.
Lastly, what are you most looking forward to from Cannes Lions 2021?
What I look forward to from Cannes every year… The connection with creative people all over the world and the celebration of creativity that defies circumstances to create new realities.
The winners will be announced during Cannes Lions Live, a fully digital experience, running from 21 to 25 June 2021. Visit our Cannes Lions special section for the latest updates!
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