"A platform for exchange, inspiration, and fascinating work"

In an interview with Werbewoche.ch, Christof Kaufmann explains the duties of a representative of the recently concluded Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, the platforms Weischer.Cinema has created for the Swiss creative industry and why the festival is an indispensable highlight for advertisers.

Christof Kaufmann mit Juliane Merz, Director of Sales Weischer.Cinema Schweiz in Cannes am Swiss BBQ
Christof Kaufmann with Juliane Merz, Director of Sales Weischer.Cinema Switzerland, in Cannes at the Swiss BBQ. (Image: Beat Hürlimann)

Werbewoche.ch: Christof Kaufmann, where does Weischer.Cinema Switzerland stand in the middle of the year?

Christof Kaufmann: We have made good progress towards the pre-Corona years. The moviegoer market has already recovered much more strongly than the cinema advertising market, for which Weischer.Cinema is responsible. There we expect an increase for the second half of the year. With this remaining cinema program in 2023, nothing can go wrong for advertisers to book cinema advertising in the second half of 2023 and beyond.


What is the significance of your involvement in Cannes for Weischer?

This is a very important and central pillar for us in our annual market activities. As a representative, we act as a mouthpiece to the Swiss creative and advertising industry and try to convey the basic idea of the festival; namely, that creativity is the decisive factor for successful communication.


How does the Swiss creative scene benefit from this?

With various measures around Cannes Lions, we enable creative minds to expand their network, exchange ideas and celebrate successes. Furthermore, we are committed to supporting young creative talent with the Young Lions program. The young creative scene provided four Young Lions teams in Cannes in 2023. These accesses are possible through our representation. We also support submissions, and for the first time since Corona, our colleagues in Germany will again compile a special Cannes reel with the trends and an excerpt of the best works.


You are on site in Cannes as Switzerland's representative. You have already mentioned some of the tasks that such a representative has to fulfill. What are the others?

We perform various tasks. These are, for example, the promotion of young creative talent. We also nominate the Swiss jurors who judge the works from all over the world at the Cannes Lions Festival. We support the submission of works, respectively establish contact to the responsible persons and have an open ear for general questions about the festival. We also curate the program in advance and make recommendations as to which presentations are worthwhile in this almost unmanageable offer. With our press representatives, we also ensure that various insights are delivered to Switzerland during the festival week.


You created platforms especially for Cannes. What were they in 2023?

As already mentioned, we enable the presence of four Young Lions teams. In the run-up to the competition, the young creatives take part in the Weischer Bootcamp, which prepares them well for the upcoming Challenge and gets them in the right mood. Likewise, the traditional Swiss BBQ on Wednesday afternoon is already an established platform for bringing the Swiss delegation together. Furthermore, there are many smaller get-togethers and events with various cooperation partners.

In addition, our German colleagues launched a live broadcast from Cannes in 2021, bringing topics and trends from the world's largest advertising festival directly to the office. For fall 2023, the first requests have already been received and dates defined to show the Cannes trend presentation.


A highlight that you are particularly proud of in retrospect?

That the Media Young Lions won bronze (Werbewoche.ch reported). After 2015, they are only the second Swiss Young Lions team to return to Switzerland with a medal and the first since Weischer Switzerland took over the representation of Switzerland. Another silver in the print category and bronze medal in the PR category were won by their Young Lions colleagues from Germany.


Your impression of Cannes Lions 2023?

It was an incredibly strong vintage, with potential upside, both in terms of Swiss entries and the size of the Swiss delegation.


Why should Swiss advertisers consider attending the festival in 2024?

To experience exchange, inspiration, motivation, exuberance, joie de vivre and internationality, to attend impressive technical presentations and see fascinating work, and to proudly be part of a great industry and live it to the full. Of course, we would like to cheer on numerous Young Lions teams from Switzerland in Cannes again next year as they achieve excellence.

Christof Kaufmann is responsible for the fate as CEO of the Weischer Cinema Switzerland At the same time, he is committed to the Swiss creative industry, driving the representation of Weischer.Cinema at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity with great dedication. Kaufmann likes John Malkovich, popcorn and his best cinema commercial of all time is that of Apple from 1984 by Ridley Scott. One of his most important everyday motivations is to please everyone, which of course doesn't always work out, as he says himself.

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