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Branding and advertising expert, Andy Rice, will be the first South African on the Creative Effectiveness judging panel in the history of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. 

“Although the category is fairly new to the 62 year festival, it is a huge honour that one of our own will be on this esteemed panel for the very first time and we couldn’t think of anyone better than Andy Rice. He brings an impressive history of talent and experience to the table,” says Cinemark’s Yvonne Diogo. Cinemark is the local representative for the Cannes Lions and its affiliates.

Rice founded Yellowwood Brand Architects in 1997 and remains involved as a Board Director and Chairman. Yellowwood was the first dedicated strategy consultancy in South Africa and became part of the TBWA Group in 2009. It is now recognised as the leader in its field in the Southern African region.

Passionate about the linkage between creativity and commercial effectiveness, Rice says that South Africa has seen a vast improvement in creative effectiveness in recent years. “The topic is on most marketing agendas today and its importance is reflected in our awards landscape.”

He explains that the strength of the Apex awards in South Africa, for example, is an indicator that we take creative effectiveness very seriously. “Whenever I tackle the topic in conferences and seminars it always generates a lot of interest. After all, marketing is meant to be an investment not just a cost. So I think there is growing acceptance among the more progressive marketers in this country that creativity and effectiveness are symbiotic partners, not mutually exclusive combatants.”

There is, however, an old-fashioned view that you can have creativity or you can have effectiveness but you can’t have both, says Rice. “There is a mountain of evidence to prove that this is not true, but unfortunately being creative or approving creative work is more difficult than the lazy alternative of commissioning safe and uncreative campaigns.

To address this issue, Rice recommends that we keep banging the drum to show the link between creativity and effectiveness. He says that the debate should be taken to the boardroom so that CEOs and FDs can get the message too and that they should be convinced that the greatest risk of all is to take no risks. “Publicise the great case studies. Fire the risk averse marketing directors.”

Rice is incredibly excited to be judging the Creative Effectiveness campaign at this year’s Cannes Lions and says that he is hoping for a two-way flow of experiences. “I hope to bring back some fabulous case studies and insights to share with South African marketers, but I also hope that my Apex experiences will add to the calibre of the debate with my fellow jurors in Cannes.”

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 takes place from 21st to 27th June.

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