Cannes Jury Spotlight: Oliver Handlos

Oliver Handlos Headshot

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, Oliver Handlos, ECD at Scholz & Friends Germany, is serving as a juror for Printing & Publishing.

Oliver is the Berlin-based executive creative director and partner of Scholz & Friends. The 2020 Drum Report World Creative Rankings (aggregating all major marketing industry awards) listed Oliver as the most awarded creative out of 483 ranked executive creative directors. 

He is Germany’s only creative who has won the Cannes Grand Prix twice, most recently the renowned Cannes Grand Prix in PR for his client The Female Company. 

Oliver has international experience as a creative director in New York, working on key accounts, leading teams and managing entire agency departments. His strength is creative strategy and insight-driven conceptual work beyond traditional advertising. He has worked in key positions for clients such as McDonald's; AT&;, BMW; Procter & Gamble; Audi; Monster; Heineken; Soundcloud; Axel Springer Press; and most of the European Union Commission, where he is responsible for the communicative rollout of the entire European Union recovery plan, NextGenEU.  

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

How much the coronavirus influenced the work.

How do you spot Cannes-winning work?   

Work that is fresh, different and moves the needle for a brand or, even better, for people. 

Have you observed a pivot in trends/behavior when it comes to creativity influenced by the pandemic?  

Not so much. It feels more like there is a certain coronavirus fatigue. People want to get over it, both physically and within communications.

Describe creativity during the pandemic in one sentence.  

More isolated thinking and brooding than brainstorming. More limitations in production and means. Less risk-taking clients. 

Is there anything you are looking for in the entries of the category you are judging?   

Of course – work that feels truly new and inspires me in my own work.

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

It's a classic category that must constantly reinvent itself to stay relevant.

What do you hope to take away from judging at Cannes?  

Unfortunately, not a tan. Seriously, at least inspiration. But it’s a bummer to judge online, which makes the entire experience rather functional and less exciting. 

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