Jen Smith of Maxus: my Top Tips for Cannes

Jen Smith is global creative director of media agency Maxus. She is a juror on this year’s Cannes Lions media awards.


My Top Tips for Cannes


State Street Global Advisors -Fearless Girl

The ‘Charging Bull’ is one of the great symbols of Wall Street. So when ‘Fearless Girl’ appeared overnight on International Women’s Day, a sculpture depicting a girl defiantly staring down the bull, it was a powerful message for women in leadership.

The symbol became even more pertinent when the original sculptor of the charging bull threatened to file a lawsuit, with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio putting it best: “Men who don’t like women taking up space are exactly why we need the Fearless Girl.”

Burger King – Connected Whopper

When you work in the media industry, you live for those moments when an ad reaches through the screen and changes your world.

Burger King does this quite literally in this brilliant, cheeky ad. When the employee leans into the camera and says “OK Google, what is the Whopper burger?”, the ad sets off your Google Home device and gets it to reel off information about the Whopper from Wikipedia.

No one can quite decide whether this was an act of genius, or one of the most annoying ads in history.

And of course, it didn’t take long for people to start tampering with the Wikipedia entry and for Google to block the device from reacting to the ad.

Certainly one of the more contentious and creative campaigns we’ve seen this year.

84 Lumber – The Entire Journey

The current political climate is casting a long shadow over much of the world at the moment – and sunny Cannes is certainly no exception. One wildcard ad that could trump some of the obvious winners is 84 Lumber’s ‘The Journey.’

It’s a story about a mother and daughter making their way across the Mexican-US border in the hope of starting a new life. As they trek, a group of construction workers are building a wall to stop them.
When they reach the wall, they are devastated. Until, of course, they discover a door in the wall which they open to continue their journey, accompanied with the line “The will to succeed is always welcome here.”

A little on the nose perhaps, but a fittingly hopeful message when times seem a little too despondent.

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