Ahead of one of adland's major advertising events, the 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, we spoke with News Corp chief commercial officer, Sharb Farjami, about the Young Lions, the value of Cannes and industry talent.
Q: News Corp has been affiliated with the Young Lions for some time. Why does it continue to be involved?
SF: News Corp has always been a key part of the advertising industry in Australia, and an important piece of that is supporting up and coming talent. Young Lions is the cornerstone of our activity around Cannes Lions, and we're really proud of the success it continues to have.
This year Young Lions had over 550 entrants from across Australia who got their ideas in front of 100 judges who are all leaders in the industry. For us there's really no better way to support the amazing young talent in Australian advertising.
Q: How do you feel News Corp and the Cannes Lions are aligned?
SF: We see Cannes as being about three things: creativity, the future and leadership.
When it comes to creativity, Cannes obviously celebrates brands using brilliant ideas to communicate with their customers. For News Corp that's absolutely something we're aligned with – we create content and stories every day that communicate with Australians.
The innovation and future focus of Cannes is something that has really become a highlight of the week. Through the on-stage sessions and off-stage conversations, we look for the themes and trends that are critical for us and our clients in the next 12 months and beyond. It's important that these conversations don't just stay in Cannes though, and every year our Cannes Download program is taken out to agencies and brands across Australia to inform and inspire thousands of people.
Finally, as Australia's leading media brand we think it's critical we're part of Cannes from a leadership perspective. Cannes is one of the events every year which sets the agenda for the industry, and obviously we feel it's important to be part of that.
Q: What do you think is the value of the Cannes Lions for the global advertising and media industry?
SF: As with everything today, digital has shrunk the world of advertising. As a result, the opportunities and challenges faced around the world in the industry are often similar. Cannes allows us to meet with colleagues and clients from across the globe to uncover and understand the best thinking going on, thinking that we can bring back in order to make our clients and our own business better.
Q: News Corp also sponsors Award School. Why does the organisation want to play a role in recognising emerging talent in advertising? Why it is important?
SF: We feel there is a role to play in working with Award School because we believe in content and ideas that engage with people in the real world. It's something we do as a media business and it's something brands must continue to do.
Leveraging data and targeting and technology are definitely key parts of marketing today, but successful brands know that creative matters more than ever. If you want to communicate effectively, and at scale, you need brilliant ideas. Award School is a superb program that ensures just that.
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