We catch up with Josh Rabinowitz, EVP Director of Music for the Grey Group, to discuss the first ever Entertainment Lions for Music.
Hi Josh, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. Music is such an integral part of brand communication – why has it taken this long for the Entertainment Lions for Music to happen?
Music overall, as a general facet of media communication, rather than specifically the process of choosing an excellent track to be used in a piece of content, has taken on a considerably larger and more significant role in the creative executions of branded initiatives.
Whether it’s a music app, musically inflected technology, a music partnership, a great live music experience, the use of an artist as a brand ambassador, etc. – it’s now more about just supervision or the music production aspect. Thus it plays well into the awards DNA of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
What was your role as inaugural president of the Entertainment Lions for Music jury?
My role was to encourage a jury of music and creative experts to deliberate and set an excellent precedence in the first year of this super-cool category. It was a challenge, but I believe we succeeded. I also presented the awards (shown in the header image above) in the Grand Auditorium at The Palais, which was quite exciting and entertaining.
Which winners really stood out to you?
So many great music videos stood out: 3-4 plus minutes of music to artful film – how can you not enjoy analyzing that? From the branded content side, several great pieces stood out that dealt with issues outside of just selling a product or a brand. We had two Grand Prix winners this year, both of which were inspiring, thoughtful and moving.
One Grand Prix, Edeka’s “Home for Christmas” spot, made use of an original song, “Dad,” written by Florian Lakenmache and sung by Neele Ternes, and was a heart melting concept and a beautiful song.
The other, Beyoncé’s “Formation”, was chosen both for the conversation it started about race in American culture and the power it had as a promotional tool for an uber pop star.
Our client Because Music won the Digital Craft Grand Prix for their interactive experience “Because Recollection” – what impressed you about this work?
The interactivity of this Because Music experience was riveting. It’s an excellent opportunity to feel a part of the breadth of a music catalogue in a distinctive and unique way.
As a long-time attendee, how have you seen The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity evolve over time?
It has expanded tremendously into arguably the most important conference revolving around creativity in the world – the place to be! Because of this, Cannes Lions is also a great place to see a rarefied music performance in a spectacular setting.
You recently stated that winning a Lion will be more important than winning a Grammy. Can you expand on that?
A Music Lion deals with those aspects of the music business that are “forward-leaning” and “current”, rather than steeped in traditional, old-school, recording models and distribution. To me, this appreciation/dedication to these current and emerging models, rather than historic aspects, is much more relevant.
What was your highlight of Cannes Lions 2016?
A dual highlight for me was the actual completion of the judging process with a unanimous decision, and then presenting the awards at the ceremony in front of 4,500 people.
What trends do you see driving the future of music in advertising and branding?
A music industry keen on creating business with major brands will inform the next 5 years of trends in the way music and advertising interact.
What are your hopes for Cannes Lions next year, and why should music industry folks attend?
My hope for Cannes next year is that the precedence that our inaugral jury created carries over into 2017 and beyond. Music industry personnel don’t want to be left out of the biggest event of the year in media.
What would be your one piece of advice for artists, labels, and publishers hoping to engage and work with the advertising and branding community?
Find a great ally of your work and your creativity – either someone who is connected to brands or advertisers, or just someone who is in tune with the forward-leaning aspects of the business of music in 2016, rather than 1996.
We’d like to thank Josh for taking the time to speak to us. You can check out the full list of Cannes Entertainment winners here.
Both photos by Christian Alminana.