"A Seat at the Table: Inside the Creative Effectiveness Jury at Cannes 2017"

by Esther R. Franklin, EVP, Managing Director Strategy & Cultural Fluency, Spark Foundry

At this year’s Cannes Lion conference, my fellow Creative Effectiveness jurors and I debated work that would set industry standard in this arena worldwide.  While data plays a critical role in the measurement of success and clarifying creativity’s role in driving effectiveness is key, having an inclusive perspective at the table is essential. 

Industry conversations surrounding diversity & inclusion are on the rise; primarily centered around gender.  What’s been interesting to observe is, at the same time the topic is surging, the very group at its epic center, Black/African American, appears to be absent from the dialog.

So, it was poetic to serve on a jury presided by Jonathan Mildenhall of African descent; an ardent advocate of a fully representative definition of inclusion - race/ethnicity, gender, orientation, culture, religious/political & ability.  He strongly promotes the crucial role diversity plays in development of powerful ideas & work. Combined with his fierce commitment to building an intently diverse judging panel, the Creative Effectiveness jury was the most diverse at Cannes this year and inclusiveness center stage.

So how can talent from diverse backgrounds ready themselves to participate in judging activities?  How can inclusive perspectives be heard and count?

  • Submit work for judging to become familiar with the process.
  • Raise your hand to judge local, regional & global competitions.
  • Join professional organizations and associations. Look for ones with programs that are judged.
  • Speak with your corporate communications team, let them know you are interested in judging opportunities and ask for their assistance in getting placed on a jury.
  • Refer someone to be a judge and become their best advocate.
  • Become an awards judge inside your organization. Your organization doesn’t have an internal awards process? Create one!

Industry standards are established and set by juries. In order for those standards to be in-line with a more inclusive, modern world, it’s imperative that greater numbers of brave, diverse voices have a seat at the table to help define them.  The payout would be significant - loud & proud, representative input to what matters & impacts the industry; an industry yet to catch up to modern reflections of its constituents.
Lift ‘O Ye diverse voices and be heard!


More information:
Diversity In Action

Last Updated: July 2017