Jean-François Sacco






The 2018 New York Festivals Executive Jury, is an elite dream team of Global Chief Creative Officers and C-Suite creative executives. Words like iconic, visionary, accomplished and influential, come to mind when describing these prominent award-winning creative leaders.  They will assemble this April in New York City for 4 days of live judging across all mediums—one panel of advertising giants, 30+ strong, all coming together to select the World’s Best Advertising®.

2018 Executive Jury member Jean-François Sacco is Co-Founder/Chief Creative Officer, of ROSAPARK France. In 2012, he created ROSAPARK with Gilles Fichteberg and Jean-Patrick Chiquiar, working on such prestigious brands as Monoprix, ING, Skoda, Thalys, Europcar International, Decathlon, Ouigo and SNCF. In 2016, ROSAPARK was ranked second best agency in the Havas Network.

Jean-François started his career as copywriter at Saatchi & Saatchi in 1994 working on brands including Toyota and P&G. After 2 years spent working with Leo Burnett, he joined Young & Rubicam in 2002 to work principally on Land-Rover and Decathlon. Jean-François then joined BBDO Paris, first as creative director, and then vice-president, where he spent 8 years working on international accounts including HP Printers, Mars & Mars pet food, Mercedes & Smart.

From 2005 to 2011, Jean-François led the Pepsi &Co account for the world (except United-States). He won great brands for the agency such as Tag-Heuer worldwide, EDF International (voted best French TV campaign in 2012), and more. His campaigns for Alka Seltzer, Mars, HP Printers have been massively awarded these past years at numerous respected award shows. In 2009, Jean-François Sacco was voted as the 5th most awarded Creative Director (print category) in the world by the Gunn Report

Being a Juror:

New York Festivals: Why did you decide to accept the invite to NYF’s Executive Jury?

Jean-François Sacco: First of all, I consider the New York Festivals to be one of the major creative festivals in the world, so naturally it’s an honor and a privilege to be part of the jury. But beyond the prestige, I think that one of the most interesting things about the festival is that fact that the members of the jury get to judge all the categories. This gives us an overview of international creativity, but also and above all, the possibility to assimilate the rules of each category and therefore best judge the pertinence of the ideas.

New York Festivals: What are you most looking forward to with this experience?

Jean-François Sacco: Being part of a jury is always a great opportunity to exchange points of view about creative work. Personally, I may have certain convictions about a particular piece of work, but this doesn’t stop me from listening and understanding the arguments of somebody with a completely opposite opinion. Sometimes while listening to them, I ask myself certain questions and often end up questioning my certainties. Basically, I see the experience as an opportunity to exchange points of view and not necessarily a need to be right.

Working in Advertising:

New York Festivals: Tell us an experience (or two) that shaped the course of your career.

Jean-François Sacco: By far the most exciting point in my career was setting up our own agency with Gilles and Jean-Patrick; practically starting from scratch, pushing creativity, winning pitches, finding new offices, hiring people… It really has been a great experience! And still is!!! It’s made me realize that the creative act per se has evolved since I started working in advertising. Years ago, as a young creative, my creative act could be summarized on a sheet of A4 paper. And then later in life, as a creative director, my creative act revolved around meetings with the creatives I was managing. And now, having set up my own agency, my creative act has become the agency itself! Basically, I’ve understood that, by creating our agency, my creative act now goes far beyond the actual campaigns I did myself.

New York Festivals: The world may have changed since you started in the business. What kinds of accounts were you working on back then vs. now?

Jean-François Sacco: The thing I’ve noticed most over the last 20 years is not the evolution of the accounts themselves. Globally they remain the same. Of course, some brands have disappeared, but the majority still exist. It’s the work environment that has changed, with the arrival of social media and the world of digital. The media have changed, with Facebook, Google, …. The way you do the job in general has changed - you need to be more agile, quicker off the mark, and more physically present around clients… but the fundamentals are still the same: is the idea good?

Favorite Ads:

New York Festivals: Share an ad you are particularly proud of. Please add a photo or link if you can.

Jean-François Sacco: Funnily enough, it’s our latest piece of work I’m most proud of - an activation for the Good Planet Foundation and Yann Arthus Bertrand, its president. With global warming getting worse, there are more and more floods in Paris each year. As a way to raise awareness, we put a giant life jacket on the “Zouave”, a famous Parisian statue that marks the level of the Seine. The idea was simple and created a strong and impactful image. The photo was relayed round the world and picked up by major international newspapers.

New York Festivals: Share your favorite ad that illustrates how advertising can change the world and tell us why you love it.

Jean-François Sacco: Jordan 1 – Newton 0

2 words 2 numbers. Is it a line? Is it a score? The idea is in the line…which is a score…or is it the other way around? For me the opening of this ad represented the arrival of the modern era in advertising. For the first time a great line wasn’t written classically. Basketball is a game. The line was written as a score and Jordan was playing against the ultimate opponent: gravity. Everything plays in this ad and Nike was leading the game! For me it’s the best print ad ever!

Creative Leadership:

New York Festivals: What do you look for when hiring new talent?

Jean-François Sacco: When I hire a creative, I try to understand one thing – do the candidate’s words, his vision of the profession and creation, match with the portfolio he’s presenting? A strong link between his vision and his work is the most important thing for me. If he’s able to explain this link, then he’s an interesting candidate. The rest isn’t that important. I pay less attention to his education or the previous agencies he’s worked at.

New York Festivals: What are some missteps you see from up-and-coming creatives that might impact or stall their career if that don’t learn a better way? What are some new things you are happy to see?

Jean-François Sacco: I find that one of the main things missing with this new generation of creatives, is their general knowledge and their references. They don’t have many references… A lot of them don’t know anything about art, music, literature… They just skim over culture, gleaning ideas. But there is no depth and consequently they don’t have the resources to build on and create.

On the other hand, I find them freer in their decisions, more enterprising and dynamic. They master new technologies and dream of opening themselves up to the world. They are inquisitive, and this is a great quality.

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