Cannes Lions Jury Spotlight: Paul Nagy

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 Paul Nagy, Chief Creative Officer of VMLY&R ANZ, has been selected as a Cannes juror in the Outdoor category, joining some of the industry’s most recognized and respected creative professionals.

Paul has more than 20 years of experience leading international agencies and brands. He has been awarded gold at all major international award shows — including Cannes and the Effies. His work has been included in WARC’s 100 smartest marketing campaigns in the world in 2014, the best of the best award at AIMIA, and B&T’s campaign of the year in 2015 for Dolmio “Pepper Hacker.” In the past twelve months, his work has won gold at Cannes, Ad Stars, and LIA, and a Grand Prix at the Spikes for VMLY&R.

Read on for his thoughts on Cannes Lions 2019 and a look inside the jury room.

Finish this sentence: “Creativity is…

Everything! (Robots and machine learning will soon be ubiquitous and able to complete most tasks … before they try to overthrow and enslave us, that is. But I don’t think they’ll ever be able to make meaningful creative leaps and inspire human emotions. So creativity is everything.)

How do you spot Cannes-winning work?

First, it makes you jealous (like, “I want to go and have a little cry” kind of jealous.). Then, once the weeping is over, you realise that it ticks all the other boxes as well. Not just interesting, not just simple, and not just a hardworking business solution … but all of the above.

What’s your favourite ad of all time? Why?

My favourite ad of all time is probably Apple’s “Here’s to the crazy ones.” It defined a brand in such a simple and powerful way, that people still associate the ownership of an Apple product with making you stand out uniquely from the crowd (even though basically everyone now owns one). And that line … Think Different. Still the reigning champ of brand lines, in my humble opinion.

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

Having seen the very best the world has to offer, I hope to be inspired to go home to my network and outdo them all for next year.

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

Having finished all the pre-judging, I believe one of the big talking points will be how brands must now stand for something that is true to their core values. No longer can they project any message into the market and expect people to buy it … these days our opinions MUST match our actions. Which I think is very positive and exciting.

Name three things in your Cannes Jury survival kit.

  • Black long-sleeved turtleneck sweater
  • T-shirts with ironic slogans I don’t understand but hope are funny
  • Google Translate app

As a medium, outdoor feels like a creative playground. You’ve got a few specific parameters that you’ve got to push as far as you can. What excites you most about the past and present work in your category?

Outdoor must be simple and arresting, and this is truer today than ever before in our history. So I’m excited about how the most creative minds on earth will instantly grab the attention of the most distracted culture in our history.