Cannes Jury Spotlight: Alison Tilling

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.

Joining the ranks of the industry’s most recognized and respected creative professionals, Alison Tilling, Chief Strategy Officer at VMLY&R Australia, is serving as a juror on Creative Strategy.

Ali leads strategy for VMLY&R across Australia and NZ. She is focused on creating a culture that combines rigour, creativity, and generosity with an openness to new ways of doing things, to help make work that really works.

Ali believes the heart of great strategy is strong evidence combined with human insight and twisty thinking, and she works to help that flourish in her team.

During her 18-year career, Ali’s led and developed strategies across a range of categories from tech to Government to retail to travel to financial services, and brand, digital and CX-based work.

Ali believes in work that works and has been lucky enough to win a range of Effectiveness awards, including several Gold awards. Her work has also been awarded at Cannes, D&AD and beyond.
She is an industry mentor, writer and occasional panellist on ABC’s advertising program Gruen. Currently Ali is focused on helping to develop pathways into the advertising industry for indigenous Australians.

What makes you passionate about the category you were nominated to judge?

I am passionate about creative strategy because the best work is founded on a strong strategy, and I want to understand as much as I can about what constitutes strategic leaps that brands can own. It’s a young category at Cannes so it’s really exciting to be part of it and lay down the gauntlet of the very best strategic work.

How do you spot Cannes-winning work?

I’ve been looking for a few things: a strong ‘thread’ in the story; links back to the brand; commercial and cultural impact, and above all, a strategy moment that makes me jealous.

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