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#CannesLions2019: "Frankness and a fresh perspective" - judging insights with Fran Luckin

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity for 2019 kicks off next week, with winners announced at nightly awards from 17 to 21 June. We caught up with this year's SA contingent of judges for a preview of what to expect. First up, Fran Luckin.
Fran Luckin, chief creative officer at Grey Advertising, is on this year’s Cannes Lions Film jury.
Fran Luckin, chief creative officer at Grey Advertising, is on this year’s Cannes Lions Film jury.

Fran Luckin, chief creative officer at Grey Advertising, is on this year’s Cannes Lions Film jury.

She certainly knows her stuff and is gaining a reputation as an excellent judge of creative work, having also served on the 2019 NYF Advertising Awards’ executive jury and the One Club for Creativity’s ADC Awards, and she’s also serving on the panel for the Association of Communications and Advertising’s (ACA) Apex Awards a little later in the year.

This marks Luckin’s fifth year judging the world’s best creative work for Cannes Lions.

Here, Luckin shares what she’s most looking forward to from this year’s Festival of Creativity, sharing a few of her Cannes Lions-related highlights over the years and what SA judges bring to the global creative mix…

BizcommunityHave you judged international award shows like Cannes before? What does that add to your judging ability?

I’ve judged Cannes four times before: Film Lions in 2010, Outdoor Lions in 2013, Outdoor Lions again in 2016, and Press and Publishing Lions in 2017, where I was jury president.

It really refines your creative judgement when you sit on a jury with some of the world’s top creative people for a whole week. You so rarely get the luxury of just being able to sit and look at work and talk about ideas. It’s wonderful when someone lets you do it for a week with some of the industry’s finest minds.

You learn a lot just from hearing how other people think about ideas.

Bizcommunity Which category(s) of work are you judging this year?

I’m a shortlist judge for the Film Lions, which means my judging is done online in South Africa. Once the shortlist judges have compiled a shortlist, it goes into the jury room in Cannes during festival week, and the jury in Cannes decides on what gets awarded.

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

There was the time a group of us went to a very famous, very fancy French restaurant for dinner and my colleague ordered the only vegetarian option on the menu, and it was a carrot. A single carrot. Stuffed with carrot. Colin Firth was at the table behind us. He didn’t order the carrot, though.

BizcommunityThat’s hilarious! What do this year’s 7 SA creatives bring to the global Cannes Lions judging mix?

Probably frankness and a fresh perspective. South Africa’s a youthful country and South African creatives tend to be less cynical, I think, than some of their counterparts from older parts of the world.

BizcommunityLove that. Give us a glimpse of the specific criteria you’ll be looking for in judging this year's entries.

A lot of film advertising is moving into the longer-form content space – brands trying to break out of the ad break and become the main attraction. They tend to do this by making documentaries or longer-form films and, on the whole, most brands aren’t doing it well.
There’s not merit in making a 10-minute film if I’m going to be bored for eight minutes of it.
I’m going to be specifically looking for films where the storytelling is so compelling that I have to watch until the end.

BizcommunityWith other international award shows like D&AD and the One Show having wrapped up for the year, any predictions of creative trends that are likely to stand out at Cannes Lions 2019?

The same trends that have been there for a while: Work that doesn’t look like advertising, work that challenges gender inequality and prejudice. There’s also going to be a lot of “save the world” ideas, I suspect, some better – and more feasible – than others.

BizcommunityWhat are you most looking forward to from the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2019?

I’m looking forward to reconnecting with friends from agencies all over the world and spending a whole week immersed in the world of ideas, uninterrupted by meetings about timesheets or meetings about parking or meetings about meetings.

I’m not going to lie, I’m also excited that there’s going to be quite a bit of Rosé!

While main judging only takes place in Cannes next week, watch for the SA judges’ specific predictions of the work that will win, later this week!

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity runs from 17 to 21 June 2019, with Cinemark – now known as Ster-Kinekor Sales – the local representatives of Cannes Lions for SA. Roving reporter Ann Nurock will be sharing the latest news as it happens, live on the ground in Cannes, so visit our Cannes Lions special section for the latest updates!

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About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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