Cannes Lions Jury Spotlight: Nathalie Brown

At Cannes Lions, the world’s premier festival recognizing creative excellence, thousands of entries pour in from countries worldwide. Behind the scenes, a carefully selected panel of judges reviews the work that will ultimately take home a coveted Cannes Lion.

This year Nathalie Brown, executive creative director, VMLY&R New York, has been selected as a Cannes juror in the Direct category, joining some of the industry’s most recognized and respected creative professionals.

Nathalie oversees the Office Depot OfficeMax and Rolex businesses out of VMLY&R New York. She has also created work Super Bowl work for Bumble, Land Rover and Dell and recently oversaw the launch of the Feminist Letters, a typeface created to amplify the voices advocating for gender equality.

Finish this sentence: Creativity is...

Not something we should define, but something you can feel.

How do you spot Cannes-winning work? 

Award-winning work is when in the first 10 seconds of the case film they set up the idea and how they solved for it and you think “F@&k — wish I had thought of that.” Most often the best ideas can be described to someone in a sentence and right away they get it.


What’s your favorite ad of all time?

I know this sounds biased, but there’s some really outstanding work done by VMLY&R across the globe that makes me super proud to wear a pass that says I’m from VMLY&R!

At the end of the festival, what do you want to have taken away from your experience?

Always inspiration from being at Cannes, but this year I’m especially looking forward to meeting and bonding with talented folks from around the world who are on my jury and really digging into the work that’s been submitted. Like B12 shots, it’s a boost of energy!

What do you think will be the big talking points at this year’s festival?

Possibly that 48% of the jury are women. Hopefully soon this won’t be something that needs to be highlighted as it will be the norm.

Name three things in your Cannes survival kit.

B-12 shots before I leave, a portable phone charger, a jean jacket (I hear it’s meat locker temperatures in the jury room and it goes with everything). I would love to bring a Blowout Bar with me but it wouldn’t fit in my suitcase …

What are the trickiest elements of Direct to judge?

Reminding myself that this work isn’t only meant to be killer, but also has to fulfil the purpose of connecting with the intended target and have results to support that it worked. Great work that has to WORK!

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