Wayne Bishop is the ideal industry icon to talk about local creativity on a global scale. Not only is he MD of PHD Johannesburg and a first-time Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity attendee and media shortlist juror, but Bishop has also served as a media juror for Cannes Lions’ sister festival Dubai Lynx back in 2016, where he described:The 65th edition of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity kicks off from 18 to 22 June with a more streamlined Festival schedule and simplified award structure.

…Going over as a judge will not simply be an additional line that I can add to my CV, I am also going as a student. I am going to see what I can learn and bring back to South Africa. I am going to benchmark my career against the festival and re-build it from the ground up. 

With Cannes Lions 2018 literally just around the corner, Bishop looks set to repeat the learning process.

Here, he shares his views on what SA creatives bring to the global Cannes Lions judging mix, as well as his favourite Cannes Lions-related moments…

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?

Let’s just pretend I was in the middle of a client pitch and excused myself to take the call! My reaction was a mixture of excitement and responsibility. I am so excited for the trip and the experience to see great work from all over the world. But also, the responsibility to ensure enough time and thought has gone into judging the entries.

Share a few of your favourite Cannes Lions-related moments over the years – either from attending personally or agency winning work-related.

One of my favourites was the first time Cannes awarded the Titanium Award. It went to Nike Fuelband, which was so ahead of its time. Although I have never worked on the brand, we have often studied Nike over the years to apply its principles to the innovation we do. There is a great process called ‘creative amputation’, which is a technique of cutting away at the idea to understand its core. I believe we first used the Nike Fuelband case study to trial this technique and it worked brilliantly.

What do SA creatives bring to the global Cannes Lions judging mix?

Our market is exceptionally good at ‘raw’ creative i.e. not the type of creative that relies on technology or new media. This is powerful, as a client often gets a truer creative product rather than something that needs developments in other areas. It’s almost like in South Africa, you don’t need to wait around for good creative, it’s everywhere!

Give us a glimpse of the specific criteria you’re looking for in judging this year’s entries.

I love the quote: The job of an agency is to solve a marketing problem in a way the client has never seen before. This is how I judge. Has it been seen before? And, crucially, did it solve the marketing problem?

With other international award shows D&AD and the One Show having just wrapped up for the year, any predictions of trends that are likely to stand out at Cannes Lions 2018?

A lot of social issues are being baked into the awards. Things like gender equality, minority issues, income inequality, and emotions around political leadership. Because these issues are very topical and relevant, a lot of the work tends to use these as thrusts for their campaigns. It looks like this will continue throughout the 2018 Cannes Lions work.

Lastly, what are you most looking forward to from Cannes Lions 2018?

It is going to be my first time at the festival, so I’m literally just looking forward to touching down on Monday! I’m also very keen to meet up with some of the judges in our category – this will be a chance to discuss ideas and reflections on this year’s work.

The article is authored by Leigh Andrews and published in BizCommunity.com