How do you create great work?

FCB Global’s creative leaders unveiled the actionable insights from their experience of judging at Cannes Lions.

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


In the pursuit of the seemingly urgent, the creative industries are at risk of neglecting the important. For every client and every agency, there’s one question that never gets old or loses its relevance: how do you create great work?  

It was a question that topped the agenda at FCB Global’s recent event, where Susan Credle, FCB’s Global Chair and Global Chief Creative Officer, assembled nine of the network’s Chief Creative Officers, who had all been Cannes Lions jurors this year, to share the insights they had gained from experience.

The discussion focused on the wider trends in the industry, as well as a general sense that the best work now has stepped up a notch in terms of truly delivering for brands.  

As Credle explained: “Advertising, and advertising awards shows, are growing up. We used to be all about the fireworks, and a little bit of naval gazing about what turns us on, but that looks like baby advertising now. Grown-up advertising that builds long-term platforms and gets results is what counts for clients, agencies – and now, even awards.” 

Our work is not about winning awards, it’s about creating change in the world. We have to let go of awards and keep hold of that change, because some of the best and most impactful work we do never wins awards

Susan Credle, FCB’s Global Chair and Global Chief Creative Officer

That focus on results doesn’t mean, of course, that creativity isn’t always the most important factor. Gabriel Schmitt, co-CCO of FCB New York, summed it up by explaining: “If you have a tight strategy, there’s no such thing as a crazy idea. There’s only an on or off strategy.”  

Of course, it is not possible to create great work without clients buying into it. Asked how you sell “crazy and weird” to clients, Franklin Williams, Executive Vice President of Experience Design at AREA 23, added: “You find the audience where the weird fits. Then you are just doing good work for the right community.”