Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage

Q&A With Cannes Chairman Terry Savage
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The Cannes Young Lions award winners were celebrated last night during an event hosted by APN Outdoor held at Sydney’s Opera House, with Cannes Lions chairman Terry Savage taking to the stage to announce the winners.

Check out the winners here.

Savage has been associated with the global awards for more than 33 years and has held the position of chairman since 2003.

During that time, Savage has increased award entries from 16,392 15 years ago, to a whopping 43,000 in 2016.

To find out a little more about the awards, B&T pulled Savage aside to hear to his thoughts about the industry, the importance of awards and the likelihood of the young Aussies winning top gongs in France.

The level of work tonight was extraordinary; do you think these guys have a shot at winning big at Cannes?

Well look you never know, I mean the reality is it’s an incredibly competitive environment, you’ve got the best in the world from all over the world but Australia’s won before so you have to be optimistic.

But, if they don’t win at Cannes the experience of actually participating in this and in Cannes is incredibly positive and will advance their thinking and career considerably.

How important are award ceremonies in advertising considering Publicis Groupe has publicly abandoned them?

I think that’s misreported, Publicis has withdrawn from all events and awards for one year with a commitment they’ll be back in 2019 and they’ve done that for commercial reasons, so the headline ‘they’ve pulled out of awards’ isn’t true. They’ve suspended awards for one year for commercial purposes.

Read also: Publicis To Quit All Award Shows For 2018

How important are awards? I think they’re incredibly important because they provide a benchmark of excellence; if you don’t have a benchmark you’ve got nothing to aspire to.

Now, that may not apply to all awards, there are some awards I suspect are highly irrelevant but your awards like Cannes and Spikes, the awards that we run, they’re all relevant, without those benchmarks, then you don’t know what to aspire to.

Then it comes down to the basic fundamentals; is it about awards? Or is it that creative work gets a higher return on investment (ROI) than work that isn’t creative? Do you want to substitute awards for better ROI? I’m quite happy to do that but there’s a lot of evidence that says work that wins awards gets a higher ROI and helps us find out what is better for brands, customers and the industry.

What’s your comment on the concept of Cannes scams?

The only comment I have to make about that is there are 43,000 entries into Cannes and there’s one piece of scam work. Why do we focus on the one piece of scam work, the scam, the cheater, and not on the amazing work that changes minds, changes hearts, changes the industry going forward?

Do we like it? No. Do we try and eradicate it? Yes. Do we want it out of the industry? Totally, but it’s a tiny element of the wonderful celebration of creativity.

We only attribute negativity to our industry and not the incredible positive that we do for good, for business. It’s about time we as an industry started to focus on the great things this industry does. That’s when we’ll get back into being a partner with brands, and moving forward with a new model that will continue to make this industry strong and vibrant.

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