Steven Kalifowitz
May 24, 2017

What I hope to see at Cannes Lions: Steven Kalifowitz

The director of brand strategy at Twitter, who is serving on this year's Entertainment Lions jury, wants to see work that doesn't steal your attention, but offers enduring value in return for it.

What I hope to see at Cannes Lions: Steven Kalifowitz

With the 2017 Cannes Lions festival just under six weeks away, we asked five jury members from different countries and areas of expertise to share their hopes and expectations. See our Cannes 2017 page for the full set.

In 2016, the Entertainment category was introduced at Spikes Asia. On the first day, the jury debated what seemed like the most trivial of topics: the difference between ‘entertainment’ and ‘entertaining’. It quickly became clear how important that debate was—and the results will also guide me as I join the Entertainment jury at Cannes.

It turns out that in the context of our industry, the difference between entertainment and entertaining goes deeper than lexicology. Most advertising is designed to take your attention. A more cynical friend argues that most advertising is designed to steal your attention. The degree to which you’ll tolerate that theft will be determined by whether something is entertaining or not; think back to the last skippable pre-roll you didn’t skip, or the ad in your timeline you didn’t scroll past. Those ads were entertaining enough to capture and hold your attention for a short time—but is that all they were designed to do?

The entries we look to honour don’t seek to take or steal your time with sleight of hand. We look for work that implicitly recognises that your time has value and offers you something of enduring value in exchange. The work invites you into a story or an experience you would choose to engage with on your own, that leaves you yearning for more, that may convince you to think differently about a brand and maybe even to buy something.

The best entries are created with heart and make people feel something. The best entries are so good it’s easy to imagine an ad for the ad. I’m also a strong believer in the ability of great ads to contribute to cultural discussions, giving more than they take.

Steven Kalifowitz, APAC director of brand strategy at Twitter, is serving on this year's Entertainment Lions jury.

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