TUESDAY 28 JUN 2022 12:10 PM


Ahead of the Cannes Lions festival this year, Edelman’s Global Chief Creative Officer and PR Lions Jury President, Judy John, speaks to Communicate Magazine about what she is hoping to see from the festival, and the importance of creativity for brands.

As Edelman’s Global Chief Creative Officer, what is your primary role at Cannes? How will you be spending your time? And, after two years away, what are you most looking forward to? 

Aside from my role this year as the PR Jury President, I’ll be championing our work and our initiatives around Trust and Gen Z. And of course, meeting with clients, the creative community, new talent, new partners, and old friends.

I’m most looking forward to seeing people and the exchange of ideas.

You received wide acclaim for your Always #LikeAGirl campaign. How does Edelman’s body of work this year uphold that same level of representation and inclusivity? 

I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done this year, moving beyond moments to creating movement. Our body of work across clients around the globe highlights and creates action on many societal issues from equity, inclusion, representation, and sustainability. 

You are the ‘first fully-fledged creative’ to lead the Cannes PR Jury; with this hybrid mindset, what are you hoping to see in the work you’re judging this year? How does your creative background inform your PR judgement? 

I’m excited and honoured to be the first Creative to lead the Cannes Lions PR Jury. It’s a reflection on how the industry is evolving. PR is a growing category because all the best work earns attention. 

I’ll be looking for work that has a unique and surprising insight, and creative solution. Then, I’ll be asking whether the work drove earnings, what the effects were on the brand or company, and whether it created action that drove impact.

Having been on both sides of the judging equation, how does your day-to-day creative work provide insight into what to look for as a judge? 

Everyday we’re trying to create work that matters in business and society, that earns trust and inspires action.

Are there any changes you’re hoping to see from the industry as we emerge from lockdowns, and what role does Cannes Lions play in this comeback? 

When you consider the number and intensity of issues permeating our world today, they can seem almost overwhelming. From pandemic to inflation, to climate change, to events like Russia’s invasion of Ukraine; huge societal issues are overlapping factors in daily lives. But what consumers are starting to see is that they do have the power to make an impactful difference.

According to our latest Trust Barometer data, people believe their daily habits and brand choices have the power to affect these cultural and societal issues, and this empowerment is personal. In fact, larger societal events took precedent over personal life events when it came to their brand choices.

I’m hoping our industry uses its power for good. To help brands and companies stand up and step in, where governments are failing to drive society forward. Cannes Lions, as a global festival, has the opportunity to rally the industry to do more.

What role do brands play in the comeback? How are you seeing brand influence address the issues of both sustainability and representation?  

Again, from our latest Edelman Trust Barometer, people are expecting brands to solve real-world problems and to act. In return, people will reward brands by buying, and with loyalty and advocacy.

What’s one thing that all successful campaigns have in common? 

One thing that all successful campaigns have in common is a compelling insight followed by a great idea on how to bring the solution to life.

In your opinion, how has the role of creativity shifted within the business community in recent years?

I think there is a greater appreciation for creativity which is more broadly seen as a powerful business tool and differentiator. Creativity is not just an output, it’s an input into how we solve business problems and opportunities. 

When working on campaigns, what is the impact you’re hoping to have? 

Across the industry, impact is what we’re all looking for: what is the effect on the brand or company, does it create action, and how does it impact communities and society?

What does success at Cannes look like, and what does it mean to you?

Success at Cannes looks like optimism.

I think one of the big themes we’ll see in the work this year will be resiliency and how we’ve found a way despite these difficult times.