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Cannes: Foreword

Trust your instincts.

That is the best piece of advice I can give anyone who has to "judge" creative work.

Put yourself in the customer's shoes.

How does the idea make me feel?

Does it make me feel something?

That's the first step.

Does it touch me?

Does it make me smile?

Does it make me laugh?

Does it make me think differently or feel differently than I felt before?

That's how I approach any idea or piece of work I see or have to "judge". I don't really like that word "judge", but I guess that's what we do.

I always remember that every day, we ask our people to do one of the most difficult things one can ask a human being to do: come up with an original idea. On this particular strategy. For this particular client. Now. Or sooner.

A few years ago, for an internal DDB project, I asked some of the best creative directors in the world, people like Jeff Goodby, Lee Clow, John Hegarty and Neil French, what made them great creative directors and how they did the great work they've done or led in their careers.

Twenty or so creative directors answered the question, each in his or her own way. But each came back to that same point: Trust your gut.

Great clients and great creative people have that "sixth sense." Sometimes you just "know" when an idea is going to work. And I've found that just about every mistake I've made in my career was when I "over-thought" (if that's a word) an idea and didn't trust my gut instincts.

Let's face it. That's what our customers do. They are not looking for the strategy statement or the minutes from the meeting. They are just going to react to how that one particular piece of communication, no matter what it is or where they encounter it, makes them feel. Our customers are our harshest critics and best judges.

So I go into the Cannes jury rooms this year with great expectations and no expectations. I will just hope to find ideas in "traditional" media like TV and press that will help point us toward the future.

And when I see them, I know how they will make me feel.

- Bob Scarpelli, Chairman and chief creative officer, DDB Worldwide; Cannes Lions 2007 Jury President.

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