This interview first appeared in The Stable
Y&R Group ANZ chief creative officer, Ben Coulson, has 27 reasons to feel that this Cannes was particularly good. In fact, he has 28.
Those 27 Lions won by Y&R Group ANZ, including two Grands Prix and a Titanium lion from Y&R Auckland, made Y&R Cannes Lions most awarded network in ANZ.
But when I asked him what it felt like to be at Cannes, he said, “There was a really good vibe. Everyone was having a win. There were happy conversations all round.”
Australia did well, but it did so in the most understated way possible. Apart from Lions Health, where Grey Melbourne made sure everyone knew its name, it seemed as though every time Australia got a chance to stand on the stage at Cannes, New Zealand took the microphone.
“It might look like that because there were no Australian blockbusters this year. And New Zealand had a standout year, with Colenso and Y&R on fire. But more Australian agencies won Gold than ever before. Across all agencies we had a great year. There was even spread of solid wins.”
And Coulson was able to name – and applaud – all of them.
But I wanted to know what Y&R ANZ’s award success meant to its four agencies, and more importantly, how did Y&R do it? So I asked.
The Stable: What does it mean to Y&R to do so well at D&AD, NYF and now also Cannes this year?
Ben Coulson: Confidence. Confidence in ourselves. It’s reward for a four year commitment for me, since I became chief creative officer. But it also tells all our people in all of our offices we can get great work out there, that we’re all strong. There’s great momentum now in all our agencies.
TS: How did you do it?
BC: Quietly. With no fanfare, no flashy hires and no PR-grabbing shout-outs.
It was about our being willing to say we’re not yet doing our best work and reaching that little bit further – so, quietly and carefully…and perhaps most importantly, proactively. When I did a bit of an audit of all of our winning work this year, I