by Michèle Widmer
Mr Yom, the winners of the innovation category were announced on Thursday night. What makes Grand Prix Area 23 "See Sound" so revolutionary?
The Grand Prix case is phenomenally good because it seeks a strong insight: it cares about people who can not hear. Then the creators had a simple idea to design this app and product but to link the whole thing with Youtube to detect dangers by creating artificial intelligence that analyzes all the sounds of Youtube. For example, if a fire detector detects deaf people, they will receive a warning on a mobile application. Hacking this combination of Youtube, and disadvantaged people give it the lead – it has led to the Grand Prix.
What trends did you find in rating in the innovation category?
Innovation does not need to set trends, but to solve problems. General topics are often the same, ie Sustainability, or just support the vulnerable. But the problems that need to be solved are often unique, as shown by "See Sound".
"It is also important that the idea has a bit longer – that is, the business plan behind it"
What is your job as a jury president?
I define what innovation means for the jury and this is what I'm setting for. It was important to me: we do not reward campaigns, but an idea that has an impact and benefits for society. Innovation does not mean that new technologies are needed. Existence can also be investigated and used to help others. It is important that the idea has a bit longer – let's say, behind this is a business plan and we see somebody considering the figures.
The shortlist in your category has already been announced by the end of June. Why?
The Jury Process Innovation has been cleverly created by Cannes Lions. Applications are announced early, and during the festival the finalists have to present their cases to the international jury. These live presentations are an essential part of whether or not the business is winning.
Why are live presentations so important?
Each jury member already has a picture of work in his head. At the presentation you finally see the manufacturers. There are cases this year, the film was truly convincing, but in front of the jury, those responsible simply simply "shook" it. The presentation did not come true, she lacked a clear conviction. And at the same time, there are cases in which "good" is first thought, and then the thing is just blown in the air.
Why do you think it's worth traveling to Cannes?
On the one hand, it is exciting to see how work and categories change over the years. On the other hand, it's simply refreshing to come here and be inspired. This has been added value to interact with creators about their campaigns. Festival organizers are constantly thinking about what they can do to make a trip to Cannes worthwhile. Based on these considerations, the category of innovation emerged. Presenting your case to the International Jury, then discussing it with it helps a lot.
How well can the Canadian lions establish contacts? And where are you going to do it?
It's easy because I'm from Germany. Here I meet all my friends I do not see in Korea. I let myself go.
"Korean agencies are happy when they come out"
They moved from Germany to Seoul five years ago. Do the South Koreans know your Hamburg ambition?
My Korean is worse than good. I am a German in South Korea, and I am South Korea in Germany (laughs).
How important are the lions in South Korea? How many agencies are there?
The Koreans are very proud to win the prize – perhaps even more than my former agencies in Germany. Cheil is a sponsor and is also represented with a large delegation. By the way, this also applies to other Asian countries. Travel is not cheap for agencies, but Cannes Lions is a good reason and supported by the local office.
What revolutionary activity has South Korea submitted this year?
Unfortunately, no, I want it different.
How did the Korean and European advertising industry differ?
The job is the same – it's about an idea or problem solving. However, working culture is very different, especially in relation to the hierarchy. In South Korea there are mostly home agencies, because Cheil is one of Samsung's companies. It works differently. All in all, there are many innovations in Korea, here it is great to work.
"Readiness to use a mobile phone for recording is much greater in Asia"
On the beach there are Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Which are the most important social media in South Korea?
Same as here. Instagram is very big, and also Facebook. Twitter less.
Amazingly, I did not see the great presence of TikToka. How many applications will be used in South Korea?
Many people use the app. As you can see, the willingness to use the mobile phone for recording is much greater in Asia than in Europe.
Generally, people in Asia are more open to new technological achievements. How do you experience it in Seoul?
The discussion on 5G technology clearly shows this. While the first licenses are still being distributed in Germany, we already use them. Even he reads that Samsung is already researching 6G. I do not understand the whole resistance in Europe. There was no debate in South Korea.
Soon, Cannes Lions 2019 will be ready: with what knowledge and how many new contacts back to South Korea?
As president of the jury, I have insight into all categories. It helps to see all the other cases and to figure out how to prepare for Cannes Lions. Besides, I really enjoyed conversations with my jury colleagues, I will miss it. Many conversations are just fun. You see twice in life.
persoenlich.com constantly publishes short lists and winners of the Cannes Lions Festival on Côte d 'Azur, which will last until Friday, June 21st. All articles and interviews about the World Promotion Championship can be found here.