A Puerto Rican advertising veteran will be traveling to the International Cannes Lions festival this summer to participate for the first time as judge in the 60th edition of the global competition, where local talent has already walked away with top honors.
In the running for the position are: Enrique (Kike) Renta, chief creative officer of DDB Latina Puerto Rico; Sylvia Soler, executive vice president and creative director of Y&R Puerto Rico; and Jaime Rosado, vice president and regional creative director for Puerto Rico and the Caribbean for J. Walter Thompson San Juan.
Carlos Thompson, president of the Puerto Rico Association of Advertising Agencies explained that the three executives were chosen as finalists based on specific criteria required by Cannes competition organizers.
“We have to send three candidates who have a long-standing trajectory in the advertising industry, who have been recognized by their creative work either by Cannes or other international competitions and, one of them had to be a woman,” said Thompson, noting there were about seven people on the short list.
This year’s festival will take place June 16-22 in Cannes. The local judge picked to travel to France will be part of the “promo and activation” committee, responsible for selecting winning pieces that are “designed to create immediate activation and or offer for the sales of a product or service,” Thompson said.
Last year, that committee received 2,667 entries, which were whittled down to 251 finalists. Eighty-six winners were selected, he said.
The push for local participation in the task of judging the pieces submitted began last year, after Puerto Rico’s resounding success in the Cannes festival, the advertising executive noted.
“Last year, Puerto Rico won the first Grand Prix for a campaign for Banco Popular and other campaigns also walked away with awards. So, because the Association represents Cannes in Puerto Rico, we took it upon ourselves to ask Cannes for the chance to sit on one of the judging panels,” Thompson said. “The lobbying began at the end of last year.”
Puerto Rico’s creative advertising work has received international recognition for many years, something Thompson said has served as inspiration for the industry “to continue seeking out ideas for our clients that shine not just in Puerto Rico, but in international markets as well.”
“Puerto Rico is a very mature and highly intelligent market to the point that if that weren’t the case, we wouldn’t see as many international and Hispanic agencies coming to the island to find resources and ideas,” he added.
About the candidates
The three executives in the running for the judging job are Renta, who started his advertising career in 1982 as a copywriter for FCB Puerto Rico, where he became executive creative director, vice president and managing partner. In 1995, he was one of three executives who founded EJE Sociedad Publicitaria, which in 2011 joined the DDB network.
Through almost three decades of career, Renta has lead his team to win the recognition of the most prestigious award shows: Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Clio, New York Festivals, One Show, AHAA, London International and FIAP among them.Sylvia Soler
Soler, meanwhile, started her career at New York’s Parsons School of Design, after which she moved on to positions in Puerto Rico and Brazil. She joined Y&R and became creative director in 1992, helping it become agency of the year for 10 years straight, while mentoring the best creative directors working in the industry today. Her work has been recognized at Cannes since 1991, as well as at the New York Film Festival, Clio and FIAP.
Rounding out the trio is Rosado, who began his advertising career as a junior copywriter at Leo Burnett Puerto Rico. In 1992, he moved to Young & Rubicam Puerto Rico, where he reached the position of associate creative director. Seven years later, he was given the opportunity to take over the job of creative vice president at McCann-Erickson Puerto Rico, which subsequently landed the island’s first Gold Lion in Cannes.
In late 2002, JWT appointed him to the position he still holds and through which he steered his team to international recognition, including last year’s seven Lions at Cannes, including the Grand Prix.
The local judge selected for the job at Cannes will be announced next month.