MM&M caught up with the 2020 jury presidents for the Cannes Lions Pharma and Health and Wellness categories.

Earlier this month FleishmanHillard’s Anne de Schweinitz was chosen as the jury president for the Pharma Lions and Havas Lynx Group’s Tom Richards was named jury president for the Health and Wellness Lions.

How does serving on a Cannes jury previously help prepare you to lead it?

Anne de Schweinitz: The experience having been on the jury gave me a sense of the different perspectives coming into the jury room from each of the members selected for the jury, with a lot of people out of creative backgrounds and a lot of international representation. Having had many of the debates and the eye opening conversations when your opinion differs greatly from someone else prepared me for what I know will be a robust debate again in that room. It helps me to set the standard for what we would be looking for because every year, the work gets more sophisticated, more measurable, more focused on what really works.

Tom Richards: Leading the health and wellness jury is an absolute honor. It fills one with complete pride, but also you’ve got an absolute responsibility to set the tone and bar for what is possible in the world of health. It’s got to be spot on. You’ve got to do due diligence. I have to make sure my people on the jury have really got their heads around the different nuances of creative work and the cultural differences between different parts of the world and different campaigns. I remember a couple of years ago, there were a couple of campaigns that came up which I didn’t get at all, but then I realized that I’m not the audience. So you have to make sure you fully understand where the campaign has come from and what the problem is, the thing that needs to be solved.

What criteria do you value most in health and pharma campaigns?

De Schweinitz: Pharma is a tough category. What you’re really looking for something that breaks out of the category and has an impact on a lot of people for the Grand Prix winners. It’s challenging, but I’m looking forward to next June given all the stuff going on in the world right now affecting the pharma industry, the political environment. Work that is addressing the big issues that are out there could rise to the occasion. There are companies that are doing some pretty innovative things repsoning to the current environment. Do I think a traditional pharma TV ad will ever hit that mark? Probably not. But there is a lot of interesting integrated work and new advancements coming to market that could have an impact.

Richards: A big thing for me is problem solving. The first thing I try to do find is what’s the problem, the thing you’re trying to fix or make difference for, that is the true value of creativity. [I also look for] the power of creativity. Creative that makes you stop in your tracks and take notice, makes you feel something, makes your heart sing or makes you feel sad. I love ideas like that that use different kinds of emotional tactics to get the message across. I want to see work that has made a difference. 

What does the jury president role mean to you?

De Schweinitz: For me, it’s an opportunity to see the best of the work that’s out there. The lens for me is about how communications is adapting and forming in the world we’re living in. As someone from the discipline of PR and integrated comms versus advertising, my perspective is how did we drive reputation along with brand and on communications that have business impact. My experience in the past has been looking at the craft and different ways to create material i’m looking at it from the perspective of what’s the overall impact of [the work]. It’s exciting to see all the work around the world, that really changes my perspective.

Richards: My experiences go all the way back to when I first was lucky enough to go to Cannes. I can still remember the moment I walked into the Palais and saw the most beautiful creative work I’ve ever seen. This was back in the day before you could find everything on the internet. I can still remember being blown away by the craft and the art direction and thought, wow, this is a whole world of creative. That really stayed with me. It is the spark within me, that’s still burning today, to continually push myself and my department and my clients to do the best work possible.