Gunjan Prasad
Apr 13, 2023

Cannes Lions jury president seeks lasting change in Creative Business Transformation category

CANNES LIONS JURY PRESIDENT Q&A: Campaign speaks with Justin Peyton about how lasting impact and creativity will be key for work that changes how business is done.

Justin Peyton
Justin Peyton

New challenges await for Justin Peyton. Campaign recently broke the news that the APAC chief transformation and strategy officer for Wunderman Thompson APAC will soon relocate to the US to take up new global roles for the agency as head of emerging channels and strategy chief for its Microsoft business. 

It's a good fit for someone who has spent the past four years at Wunderman Thompson in a regional role that has always looked ahead on behalf of brands for innovative new services, new business models, new data sets, new engaging experiences and types of creative content to unlock more brand potential and connections with consumers. 

But Peyton has another new challenge this year as well, returning to Cannes Lions in June as the jury president of the Creative Business Transformation Lions, the same category in which he was a jury member last year. Campaign Asia caught up with him to get a sense of his excitement and expectations from the festival this year.

How does it feel to serve as jury president of this year’s creative business transformation Lions at Cannes and what are you most excited about?

How could a person not be elated about having the opportunity to serve as jury president. It’s a category and a space that I am very passionate about. Last year I was able to participate as a jury member, so to go back this year as jury president – well it’s an honour and honestly it was a complete surprise. But a very welcome one.

I am most excited about is probably two things in equal measure.

First of all, the work. The work is why we get up in the morning and why we do what we do. I can’t wait to see the entries, and to see those pieces that are so exciting in what they tried to do and what they achieved that you just can’t help but wish you had been part of it.

Second, is the jury. I am so excited to meet the jury. Last year we had an amazing jury with people that were so passionate about the work. The jury room was filled with lively and friendly debate, but also with perspectives that really helped everyone to see things from new angles. I feel like I learned so much from that group of people in such a short time and I am certain that this year’s jury will up the game even further so I can’t wait to meet them.

How would you define the Creative Business transformation category? Has the pandemic changed it in any way?

Cannes defines the creative business transformation category as a celebration of the creativity that drives businesses forward, changes how businesses organise themselves, how people work and how customers engage with them.

I don’t want to get into too much detail here about how I interpret this as I want save some of those thoughts and conversations for the jury to start with. But I think there are a few very important points to make.

Firstly, that it isn’t just about doing something differently, getting some great results and then going back to how you were working before. Transformation is about taking deliberate actions to address issues in a permanent or long lasting way.

Secondly, it has to have a positive impact at the end of the day. That impact can just be fiscal. But truth told, the work that is the most exciting and show the most potential tends to deliver benefits on multiple levels.

That leads to the third point, which is creativity. Cannes is a festival of creativity and just because the category has the word business in the name does not mean it escapes creativity. In my mind it actually makes the creativity doubly important because creativity in business has the power to deliver game changing results where 1 + 1 can equal 3.

Which are some campaigns, that in your opinion, have been landmark examples attesting to the creative mettle of creative business transformation at Cannes so far?

Last year we awarded 'Pinatex' with the Grand Prix, and I am still proud to have been able to give an award to that work. It’s truly the embodiment of what I believe creative business transformation to be. It ticks so many boxes in my mind.

Dole changed the production process of farming pineapples and turned the waste material (leaves) into a useful material (sustainable leather substitute). They created a commercial enterprise just to sell that new material which became highly profitable and sells to many of the biggest brands in the world. And everyone from the farmers, to the business, to the world sees value from what they did. It still stands out to me as an amazing example of how a creative idea and approach can transform a business.

Beyond that Carrefour’s 'Black Supermarket' which won the Grand Prix for creative business transformation in 2021 is another favourite. Transforming business process and policy in the face of national regulation because you believe it is the right thing to do is an incredibly brave and daunting thing to do. But what makes this work so special was the ways that they creatively delivered and turned their changes into a national discourse and ultimately policy change.

It does however seem a bit easy to just talk about the things that won Grand Prix’s so looking deeper at some of my favourite pieces of work from last year, I still love the Argentinian project from ITAU where they effectively transformed banking by making WhatsApp the only interface you need for your banking. It sounds like a simple and small change being that it is so focused on WhatsApp, but the impact was profound.

Now all that said, what I am most excited about is to see the work and to work with the jury, celebrating the best of creative business transformation this year.

Campaign Asia

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