How I feel about Cannes Lions 2015

Posted: June 30, 2015

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by Brett Morris, CEO and Chief Creative Officer, FCB South Africa

Attending the Cannes Lions is an emotional rollercoaster. Advertising and marketing executives from around the world gather to honour the best work from around the world. The rollercoaster ascent starts much earlier than the festival though, as agencies begin the heart-wrenching process of selecting the work that they think will be worthy of the significant entry fee.

And once they’ve bought their ticket to the rollercoaster, they will travel from all over the world and join thousands of other who will endure emotional lows and highs (if they’re lucky) throughout the week as they wait to see if their work has been selected from among thousands of entries to become a prized shortlist which will then be considered for a highly coveted Cannes Lion.

And once the results are released, emotions run high. Those who’ve won celebrate their victory as a vindication of having done great work and those that haven’t bemoan their loss and question the validity of the process. Debates rage on for the duration of the festival, from the jury room to the pavement outside the palais. Let’s just say that those who haven’t won are generally a little more outspokenly emotional.

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The irony of this emotional milieu is that it sometimes clouds what we are here to do, namely reward work that evokes some emotion. I’ve seen this happen in the jury room too, where debate rages on about how ‘clever’ something is or how ‘relevant’ or ‘original’. All of which are very important criteria but they all mean nothing unless the work actually achieves the most important criterion. How it makes you feel.

This is not a vague and fanciful ‘creative evaluation method’ this is scientific fact. We are fundamentally emotional beings and the more emotional the work the more effective it is. In fact research has shown that it can be in excess of ten times more effective. So, in evaluating the work I saw this week at Cannes I applied this simple filter and what becomes patently evident is that the great work, the work that truly makes you feel something, is not really debatable.

So, as the week comes to a close, and while you have the opportunity, I suggest that you take some time trawling through the winners at It is a unique privilege to be able to view the world’s best work (or most of it anyway, some of it is debatable 🙂 in one place. Have a look and see you what you think. Sorry I mean, see what you feel.