Insights from the Festival of Media Global Jury Room

By May 11, 2017 No Comments

Kathy Kline, chief strategy officer at Starcom Worldwide, shares three trends to emerge from this year’s Festival of Media Global Awards.

Festival of Media (FOM) is the only global competition to focus exclusively on excellence in the media craft. As a final judge at this year’s competition, I convened in Rome with a jury group representing myriad geographies, specialties and perspectives to review 235 shortlisted entries and honor the very best.

A few key themes surfaced from the experience.


The age-old debate between cause marketing and business-building work was alive and well at FOM. While the ability to drive results within difficult business situations is admired, it’s more often within the CSR realm where creativity flourishes. When it comes to doing good versus doing well, the very best work does both, as we saw exemplified in work like P&G Always’ ‘Girl Emojis’.

Brands should let go of historical constraints and category conventions. Unleashing creativity can drive a magical blend between human connection and brand-building goals.


Brands wager on whether brand sincerity or elements of surprise and delight best connect with consumers. For some, pulling back the veil and inviting people into the brand process drives high value, like we saw from Tata Motors in India when renaming their Zica automobile to Tiago. There is also impact in the intentional misdirect, as Kraft witnessed in the US with its Macaroni & Cheese Blind Taste Test and McDonald’s achieved with the C&H Food Truck.

It can be a risk, but those who do this best understand situational brand context and cultural moments.


The growing power of data and technology to drive consumer connections was pervasive across all FOM finalists. The jury saw several winning cases whose exemplary use of data leveraged consumer insights and technology to meet people on their desire lines, closing the gap between what people want and what the brand needs. Airbnb’s ‘Love This Live There’, McDonald’s ‘Capacity-Based Delivery’, and Linicin’s ‘Sales Data Crossed with Google Data’ all understood people’s behaviors and desires to offer them relevant and timely brand solutions.

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