- Friday, May. 20, 2016
Wesley ter Haar is the founder of global creative production company MediaMonks. His role as head of operations has been integral in the shop’s growth (450 Monks), expansion (10 offices) and assorted pieces of high-caliber work (67 Lions). He now heads up MediaMonks’ U.S. offices in New York and Los Angeles.
MediaMonks works with virtually all of the major advertising networks, as well as independent agencies and a host of local creative outfits, serving as a production partner for the likes of Tribal DDB, BBDO, TBWA, BBH, iris, 72andSunny and Wieden+Kennedy.
Recently Brazilian digital technology company Cricket became a MediaMonks’ international office. Cricket—which has earned more than 100 awards, including eight Cannes Lions—continues to produce digital work for the Brazilian market as MediaMonks São Paulo. The new office will support MediaMonks’ global business as a hub for producing experiential work. Most importantly, it brings MediaMonks closer to the talent and creativity in Brazil. MediaMonks CEO Victor Knaap observed, “There’s a reason Brazil brings so many award-winning ideas to the stage every year. We’re excited to now be at the source of all that creative talent and partner with local advertising, technology and entertainment companies to turn their best ideas into amazing campaigns, products and services.”
The partnership with Cricket follows MediaMonks’ acquisition of Stopp in LA and Stockholm in December 2015.
In the big picture, beyond MediaMonks, among ter Haar’s most notable contributions to the digital industry thus far has been his instigating the creation of the Digital Craft category for the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and in turn being named as the category’s inaugural jury president. The category represents high profile recognition of the craft entailed in digital creation, design and strategy which helps translate ideas into relevant and valuable user experiences.
MediaMonks’ ter Haar is also on the board of directors of the SoDA digital society and serves as project management dean at the SoDA Academy learning conference. He’s also been part of industry juries such as the Webbys, FWA, Awwwards, Ciclope and Eurobest. He is no stranger to Cannes Lions judging, having earlier served on the Cyber jury.
SHOOT connected with ter Haar to delve more deeply into the significance of the Digital Craft Lions, and his goals and priorities as jury president.
SHOOT: What does the creation of a Cannes Lions Digital Craft category mean to the industry at large? Why is this recognition of digital craft important?
ter Haar: There is so much great work happening in digital that is broader than a singular big idea. The Digital Craft category is going to allow us as an industry to talk about and teach the value of craft across user experience, digital design and the smart and savvy integration of data and technology. All equally valuable variables when it comes to making industry defining and bottom-line shifting work. But not naturally the type of work we can reward within existing Cannes Lions categories.
SHOOT: Reflect on what it means to you personally and professionally to have been chosen to preside over the inaugural Digital Craft jury for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
ter Haar: Well, it’s a moment of personal pride that was quickly surpassed by the professional satisfaction of seeing a category we’ve helped shape and define become key to Cannes Lions. It’s such a broad church, from wonderful high-wire campaign content to heavy-lifting core digital UX and design, that to have a framework in place that allows us to discuss and award it is hugely exciting.
SHOOT: What are your priorities for the Digital Craft jury (setting criteria, defining the category, laying the groundwork for years to come, etc.)?
ter Haar: It’s an interesting question. As the inaugural jury, we’re defining the category by default. That means it’s on us to make sure we set the category up for success. I expect there to be ample discussion about criteria and a lot of soul searching that the work we’re awarding and rewarding will stand the test of time.
SHOOT: What do you hope to accomplish as a jury? As president of the jury?
ter Haar: As president my role is to manage. The discussion, deliberation and ultimate decision is in the hands of the jury. Our goal should be to create a broader understanding of the value craft adds in a digital space, and celebrate the great work that is being done. If we can find a few hidden gems along the way, and get people talking about the work in our category, we’ve done well.
SHOOT: Can you come up with an example of work in recent years that wasn’t recognized in the Cyber and/or Mobile Lions competitions (for lack of a Big Idea) but that would have been honored if there had been a Digital Craft jury?
ter Haar: I think we’ll see an influx of work that in previous years would not have been submitted, but from my personal stint on the Cyber jury I can remember Burberry Kisses being a great example of a craft-heavy campaign that was overlooked, and I was personally partial to World of Warcraft Rewards for Visa which showed some great business thinking and integration into the real world but fell by the wayside for lack of a big idea.