Cannes Lions 2023: A look back by Hakuhodo Group jury members

Aug. 4, 2023
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Hakuhodo’s Justina Zun-Zun Chang and TBWA\HAKUHODO’s Takahiro Hosoda and Seiya Matsumiya

The world’s largest advertising festival, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which celebrates its 70th anniversary this year, was held in Cannes, France June 19–23, 2023.

We interviewed Cannes Lions 2023 jury members from the Hakuhodo Group about trends at the Lions this year and the Grand Prix-winning works in their respective categories.


JUSTINA ZUN-ZUN CHANG: Design Lions Awarding Jury Member

(Justina Zun-Zun Chang is standing fourth from the left)

What were the trends at this year’s Cannes Lions and what were your impressions after completing the judging?

This year’s judging was very competitive. Based on the judging criteria “select the best works that utilize the power of design to have an impact,” there were many unique ideas, design craft and expression methods, and many of the works were rooted in global social issues.

The actual judging was conducted across two 14-hour days by 10 jury members from 10 countries. The Jury President was good at taking an inclusive perspective, and created an environment in which we could have diverse discussions from a wide range of perspectives. I learned a lot from this very valuable experience.

To expand the possibilities of design, we selected a wide range of works. From purpose-driven works to outstanding design craft. From works intended for Gen Z and the LGBTQ community to those intended for older audiences. From print media to digital media. Be sure to check out this year’s Design Lions winners.

What were the characteristics of this year’s Design Lions Grand Prix winner and the secret of its success?

This year’s Grand Prix winner was “ADLaM,” a design for the written form of a language.
The Fulani people of West Africa communicate only verbally and have no written language. The Barry brothers, who were concerned about the decline of the language culture, came up with the idea of creating a handwritten alphabet, “ADLaM.” With the help of Microsoft, the brothers designed and encoded the typeface to create a digital typeface that is easy to use on a variety of devices. In the future, they plan to expand the alphabet to Microsoft 365 programs, and desktop and mobile platforms. The work uses the power of design and digital technology to help preserve a culture. Compared to other entries, it was rated highly for having a rich humanity and creating a stronger impact.

Title: ADLaM – An Alphabet to Preserve a Culture
Advertiser: Microsoft

Justina Zun-Zun Chang
Global Integrated Art Director, Global Creative Team, Hakuhodo Inc.
Taiwan native Justina Zun-Zun Chang spent eleven years in the cultural melting pot of New York before arriving in Tokyo. She joined Hakuhodo in 2020 after working for a world-renowned fashion brand and a design studio. As a Global Art Director, she particularly excels in the branding and luxury fields.


TAKAHIRO HOSODA: Innovation Lions Awarding Jury Member

(Takahiro Hosoda is fourth from the left)

What were the trends at this year’s Cannes Lions and what were your impressions after completing the judging?

This year, Cannes Lions was held in the midst of a worldwide surge in generative AI. Perhaps in reaction to this, I felt that our attention was instead focused on human creativity that did not rely on AI.

Personally, work with “externally-focused imagination” left an impression on me. Marketing work starts with envisioning targets, users, and other internal factors. But at that point, people with disabilities and minorities may be being pushed out of the market. That’s why we wanted to bring in the “externally-focused imagination” known as accessibility.

Another thing I paid attention to was “the conceptual capabilities of fiction.” For example, Tuvalu, which is said to be sinking due to rising sea levels, has a sci-fi-like policy to start moving to digital land. I was fascinated by the idea of trying to change the future with this very human “grand fiction.”

What were the characteristics of this year’s Innovation Lions Grand Prix winner and the secret of its success?

Having awarded Google’s “AlphaGo” the Grand Prix in 2016, the Innovation Lions at Cannes is known as the category that set off the AI boom that continues to this day. The award celebrates work that is not temporary but can change lives and society.

This year’s Grand Prix, “MouthPad^,” is a device born out of a lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It enables people with disabilities in both hands to operate devices using their tongue by wearing a circuit-embedded mouthpiece in their upper jaw.

The key point was the concept of making the tongue an “11th finger.” Once they obtain the finger-like smooth and free operability that voice recognition and eye tracking cannot deliver, people with such disabilities will be able to draw and enjoy games with ease.

The work provided clear answers to scale potential and impact design, which are the two questions of the Innovation Lions’ evaluation axes: “How will it spread?” and “How will it change lives?” We hope that it will become the standard in the future.

Title: MouthPad^
Advertiser: Augmental

The Hakuhodo Group, too, won a Gold for “Shellmet,” making it the first Japanese company to receive an Innovation Lion. The idea was to turn waste shells into an alternative plastic material to create a circular economy. More than a product, it is a proposal for a new society.

Title: Shellmet (also sold under the name Hotamet)
Advertiser: Koushi Chemical Industry Co., Ltd.

Takahiro Hosoda
Chief Creative Officer, TBWA\HAKUHODO
Takahiro Hosoda joined TBWA\HAKUHODO after a stint with TBWA\Chiat\Day in Los Angeles. He takes an integrated approach to the job, from formulating a business vision and concept to designing brand communications. He has won numerous Japanese and international awards, including a Cannes Lion Gold, the Grand Prix at the ADC Annual Awards in New York, the Grand Prix at the Clio Awards and the ACC Grand Prize. He has been named Campaign Asia-Pacific’s Japan/Korea Creative Person of the Year and was also selected by the magazine as one of its “40 Under 40.”


SEIYA MATSUMIYA: Entertainment Lions for Music Awarding Jury Member

(Seiya Matsumiya is seated second from the right)

What were the trends at this year’s Cannes Lions and what were your impressions after completing the judging?

It was my first time to serve as a jury member at Cannes, and I feel that engaging in passionate discussions with the world’s top creatives helped me grow so much that you could even call it a turning point in my career. What makes a good work? We defined three criteria and took our time exchanging ideas about each, one by one. Gaining support and changing my values through this process was a very stimulating experience for me. As a trend in the category I judged this year, I felt that many of the works reflected the current state of society. A message to Gen Z; AI, which has evolved dramatically in the past year; and a message about a war that is hurting so many people. Simply, these all exhibited extraordinarily high craft. What these all had in common was “purpose” and “culture.” I feel strongly that what I learned through this year’s judging will impact my future works.

What were the characteristics of this year’s Entertainment Lions for Music Grand Prix winners and the secret of their success?

“Beautiful Life,” which won the Grand Prix for Excellence in Music Video, packs a strong emotional punch. Behind the award are its universal impact, and the dangers the work is trying to convey about social media and the value of life. We spent just under two hours discussing this one work, and finally awarded it the Grand Prix.

Apple’s “The Greatest,” which won the Grand Prix as a brand work, was overwhelming compared to other works for its expression of diversity, high advertising value, and the connection to the music that animates it. This Grand Prix was decided in an instant with a unanimous vote.

Title: Beautiful Life
Advertiser: Michael Kiwanuka

Seiya Matsumiya
Music Supervisor, DISCO, TBWA\HAKUHODO
CEO, Black Cat White Cat Music
Seiya Matsumiya started his life in music as a teenager in California’s thriving indie music scene. After graduating from Berklee College of Music, he launched his career as a video and music producer in Los Angeles in 2013, while remaining active as an artist. He founded Black Cat White Cat Music in Tokyo in 2018.


Cannes Lions Official Website: Cannes Lions (

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