Gavin McLeod’s Cannes Diary #2

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Gavin McLeod’s Cannes Diary #2

Gavin McLeod, chief creative officer at CHEP Network is representing Australia on the Cannes Social & Influencer jury. McLeod, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors, writes exclusively for CB.


Today started early due to jetlag. Wide awake at 4 am, I decided to go for a run. Jogging through hordes of well-dressed revellers heading home after epic nights was an odd experience. I’m clearly doing Cannes wrong!

Later, in the jury room, it was all about starting to decide our winners. The judging process itself is an incredible learning experience, surrounded by amazing people at the top of their game in Social. Cannes Lions care deeply about the diversity of the juries in gender, skillset, and nationality, and the work is better for it. It’s cool to hear different perspectives and gain a better understanding of cultural nuances that might otherwise be overlooked. The hottest debate again? Defining what truly qualifies as “social” and “Influencer”. Finding work that is genuinely born out of a social insight and behaviour is tricky when all campaigns nowadays have social baked into them. The lines are blurrier than ever.

Is it enough for a campaign to live on social media, or does it need to drive real, measurable interaction? The consensus? It’s all about genuine engagement and impact, not just a flashy presence.

Christina Miller, VML’s Chief Social Officer, has dubbed this the year of women, more specifically women in football. There are some really great campaigns celebrating women’s sport on the shortlist, and a few seem like strong contenders for the big awards.

As the day wrapped up, we found ourselves repeatedly circling back to one key idea: authenticity. The campaigns that truly shone weren’t just clever; they were real and resonated deeply. I’m really looking forward to tomorrow when we’ll be focused on awarding Golds and the pinnacle – The Grand Prix!