Gavin McLeod, the chief creative officer at CHEP Network, has been chosen to represent Australia on the Cannes Social & Influencer jury. McLeod, who is also a contributor for CB, shared his experience at the Cannes Film Festival.

The day started early for McLeod, who found himself awake at 4 am due to jetlag. He decided to go for a run and witnessed the aftermath of the previous night’s festivities as people made their way home. McLeod humorously noted that he might be doing Cannes wrong with his early morning activities.

Once at the jury room, the focus shifted to deciding the winners. McLeod described the judging process as a valuable learning experience, surrounded by talented individuals at the top of their game in the realm of Social. The diversity of the jury, in terms of gender, skillset, and nationality, was highlighted as a crucial aspect by McLeod. He emphasized the importance of hearing different perspectives and gaining insights into cultural nuances that might be easily overlooked. One of the main topics of debate among the jurors was the definition of what truly constitutes “social” and “Influencer” content. In today’s advertising landscape, where social media is an integral part of most campaigns, distinguishing work that is genuinely rooted in social insights and behavior is becoming increasingly challenging.

The question of whether a campaign merely existing on social media is sufficient, or if it needs to drive tangible interaction, was a point of contention. The consensus among the jurors was that authentic engagement and impact are paramount, rather than just having a flashy online presence.

Christina Miller, VML’s Chief Social Officer, identified this year as the year of women, particularly women in football. Several campaigns celebrating women’s sports were recognized on the shortlist, with some considered strong contenders for top awards.

As the day drew to a close, the jurors found themselves consistently returning to the theme of authenticity. The campaigns that stood out the most were not only clever but also genuine and deeply resonant. McLeod expressed his anticipation for the following day, when the focus would be on awarding Golds and the prestigious Grand Prix.