This year’s Digital Craft Jury President Henry Cowling gets some good advice from his 2016 predecessor, Wesley ter Haar from MediaMonks.
Inspired by the bit at the end of The West Wing where the members of the outgoing administration left notes of advice for their successors, we let this year’s Jury Presidents get some totally unofficial but incredibly useful advice from their 2016 predecessors.
(The 2016 Jury. President Wesley ter Haar, in trademark cap, centre. 2017 President Henry Cowling on back row, three from right.)
Henry Cowling is Creative Director at Unit 9, and served as a jury member on Digital Craft in 2016, under the guidance of that year’s President, MediaMonks’ Wesley ter Haar. After spending days locked in a room together judging the first ever Digital Craft Lions, it’s safe to say these guys know each other pretty well. They've got judging history.
HENRY COWLING: Are you still happy with the decisions your jury made last year or does anything keep you up at night?
WESLEY TER HAAR: "Henry! Let me start by saying congratulations on your well-deserved promotion to President. And yes, this is definitely me sucking up to the new president. Call me.
"As for the results, I think we did a decent job. No big misses, the work has aged well, even in the more buzzy categories and we managed some strong Golds throughout. And I know ten years from now, while we’re both at the Carlton terrace in Cannes, we’ll bump into each other and you’ll still give me shit for the Grand Prix we chose. But it was year one for the Lion, and I think the intense discussions we had about it shows the strength and depth we managed to get in our first year out. So, no lost sleep, although digital production does get me up early every day."
HC: What will be the most regrettable digital fad of 2017?
WH: “Oooh, you’re clearly setting me up for a fall, but I’ll mix my metaphors and gladly bite. 2017 will see lots and lots of people talking about ‘the bubble’. I suspect you’ll see a huge wave of ‘bubble-breaking’ campaigns hit the judging tables, and many of these will be useless as they only deal with the smallest of bubbles, our very own ad-land. I ask only one thing of you: as a courtesy to your predecessor, send me the worst five case videos you judge."
(Grand Prix winners: Wesley ter Haar with the Digital Craft Grand Prix winners, 84.Paris)
"Craft is such an amazing thing to be able to celebrate, away from big ideas, ROI and insights. Power to the pixel polishers!"
Wesley ter Haar
HC: Is there group, country or category of work you would like to see better represented at Cannes this year?
WH:"In the Digital Craft Lion specifically, I’d love to see more Asian and Latin American work. I think we saw a glimpse of some amazing Asian work (I am now going to backtrack on my earlier response and say that that Street Fighter Sumo Horse Racing project should have gotten more love), but I’d love to see even more. Both regions have such an amazing craft-centric approach that I hope we see some big winners this year.
"The big disappointment for me in year one was how light User Experience and Functional Design sections were. Hopefully you’ll see a broader range of companies and creatives submit their work to Cannes and shake up those categories within the Lion."
WH: "The Digital Craft Lion is different to Cyber. It’s the place where we should be welcoming smaller projects which can win just because of the sheer willpower that has been polished into every pixel. Craft is such an amazing thing to be able to celebrate, away from big ideas, ROI and insights. Power to the pixel polishers!"
HC: How do you cope if you get an overly opinionated asshole like me on your jury?
WH: "Depends if you agree with said asshole, which in our case was more often than not. As the President you will be expected to be diplomatic and abstain from active influence. So your best hope is to have someone that speaks up and says the things you’re dying to say. Which in your case I imagine will mostly be: “This is shit!”
"As a general note just make sure everyone participates. Juries can quickly devolve into three people arguing amongst themselves while the rest look on and wistfully think about the Croisette. Make sure everyone gets a say."
HC: Can I get tickets to the MediaMonks party please?
WH: "Yes! As long as I can drink your rose at the Carlton."