Stacy-Ann takes part in victor selection at Cannes

This year, Heart’s own Senior Director of Strategy, Stacy-Ann Effs, received an unexpected email from the team at Cannes Lions. It was an invitation to become a volunteer shortlisting juror of campaign submissions in the Media Lions category. 

Despite her full schedule, she accepted the crucial role, excited to participate in the prestigious International Festival of Creativity. During a one-hour brief, Stacy-Ann was introduced to her cohort president and 22 fellow Media Lions Committee members, where they were filled in on the jury process and what to expect. Stacy-Ann explains:

“Over the course of about a month, committee members reviewed up to 300 video submissions on their own time.”

They ranked each submission from 1 to 9, with 9 being the most exceptional work—a potential category winner. Judging criteria included creativity, strategy, execution, and results.

Stacy-Ann was particularly impressed with the initiatives taken by Cannes to ensure integrity in the judging process. Votes from jurors for submissions from their own company were excluded, and training was provided on how to avoid cultural bias. Stacy-Ann shared:

“One thing I really appreciated about the process was their concern about integrity and being aware of our own biases when judging.”

Based on jurors’ rankings, the shortlisted submissions were then collated automatically for the head judges at Cannes Lions Festival to choose the final winners.

Finding commonality in creativity

While each submission was creative and unique, Stacy-Ann did notice some recurring themes as she sifted through the innovative campaigns.

Do more with less

Stacy-Ann reflected, “With global economic stagnation, it was inspiring to see brands be as resilient as the consumers they seek to engage. Creativity abounded where there was no dedicated media budget—demonstrating that we can all do more with less if we think outside the box.” 

One of her favorites was PedidosYa’s “World Cup Delivery.” The food delivery app sent out a fake notification to Argentinians that a delivery was on the way. They leveraged their app to slightly aggravate users, later revealing the World Cup was being delivered home from Qatar to Argentina—turning it brilliantly into delight.

PediosYa had over 32% more mentions than even Lionel Messi in the aftermath of Argentina’s historic World Cup victory. It was quite a feat, and as Stacy-Ann put it:

“Their delivery map showed the World Cup’s journey home to Argentina. It was so real-time and culturally relevant!”

An uproar for inclusion

Nearly 1.3 billion people worldwide have a disability, and many of the submissions set out to break down their barriers of discrimination. 

The Media Lions Silver winner was a notable example of this for Stacy-Ann, titled A Promo Nobody’s Heard Of,” by McDonald’s.

McDonald’s created a promo in Panama, speaking to those specifically with hearing impairment who were seeking employment. They used a relevant cultural event (the World Cup) and took over the sign language interpreter on national TV to deliver a recruitment message for those with hearing impairment.

“It was brilliant because it made hearing impairment, which might be seen as a barrier, into something exclusively inclusive,” said Stacy-Ann.

The second campaign she felt delivered personal impact was “Ability Signs” by Decathlon Canada, which took the Gold in the category. The campaign reimagined a ubiquitous symbol for disability and transformed the image of a person in a wheelchair. Stacy-Ann shared what she liked about it:

“I loved Ability Signs’ because it focused on the things people can do versus not. Demonstrating that ‘ability’ is all about perspective!”

Young Lions roar for sustainability

In a separate invite, Stacy-Ann was asked to be a Young Lions juror—live at the festival. She shared,

“This one was really exciting. They get the brief on Tuesday, work on their response on Wednesday, and then present it to the judges on Thursday. The Young Lions produced truly impressive work in one day.”

In a marathon-style competition, 28 teams of two professionals under 30 were given a climate change–focused brief and asked to prepare a campaign in a matter of days. Campaigns were ranked via the same 1–9 system Stacy-Ann was already familiar with. 

She felt it was an extremely valuable experience for these young professionals to get their feet wet in the world of competitive marketing—a good preparation for future submissions.

The Young Lions campaign that took the Gold in Media was titled The Lower, The Better by two young art directors from South Korea: Hyune Kim and Seoyul Song.

In just a five-minute presentation, they explained how their campaign encouraged action on climate change via a small shift in Netflix viewing quality. Stacy-Ann was struck by how switching from HD to SD reduces carbon emissions and that such a small compromise of video quality could have a big impact on the climate crisis.

Ferocious creatives power global solutions

From sifting through the submissions of the Media Lions category to judging the high-pressure, live Young Lions competition, Stacy-Ann was honored to witness pioneering creative work at Cannes Lions this year. She expresses,

“brands and creatives care about the society we are cultivating for the future—and they want to see equity and change for the good of the world.”

Between making those with disabilities feel seen to creating wildly successful campaigns with zero monetary initial investment, this year at Cannes was a memorable one. Stacy-Ann looks forward to next year and plans to work hard in hopes Hearts & Science will continue to be represented at the International Festival of Creativity.