The overall caliber of work in the show was yet again in keeping with the best work of every year. Every year at any show it begins with a typical skepticism - "Oh, it doesn't look as good as last year," and every year it ends with "Actually the work is really good."
What distinguished "Mountain" as the Grand Prix winner?
"Mountain" was pitched against Vim "Prison" and Bud Light "Real Men of Genius." What distinguished "Mountain" was its bigness, universality, great use of music to humanize the bigness and its ability to solidly withstand repeated viewing.
Was there agreement among the judges on this?
The very fact that there were three contenders for the Grand Prix means that the other two also had preferences from the jury. But as the discussion proceeded, the decision on Mountain reached a very smooth agreement.
Were there any spots that were especially contentious among the judges?
There was hardly anything that led to furious debate. There were some points of view regarding Argentine Airlines and one other ad, which also had a particularly similar story line. They were screened together and the resolution was quite unanimous in favor of the Argentine ad.
What were some of the judging criteria that you used that you thought were especially important?
It was a very mature jury that had an open mind towards understanding cultural nuances. Therefore there were no huge issues. However, having said that, some good stuff may have gotten eliminated at the shortlist stage when the jury was divided in three groups and there was a secret voting without any debate.
Are there any recommendations you would make in terms of changing this judging process in future?
All judges are seasoned creative people and therefore they do not require any special judging criteria. One of the things that I kept reminding my partners was to disregard history and past glory of brands /campaigns. In that regard, I have a sense of satisfaction that in the Outdoor category. An unknown Channel 9 from Malaysia won over a known and awarded Outdoor from Adidas. It is to the credit of the jury that we got to know the name of the winning country after having decided on the Grand Prix.
Do you think awards shows have evolved to reflect the evolution of the business and new kinds of work?
The very fact that Cannes over the years has moved on from just Film to Press & Outdoor, to Media, to Direct, to Interactive is a reflection of the fact that the business is taking newer shapes and the award shows are responding appropriately. I am sure that in the years to come the newer categories will get greater recognition than they do today.
Do you think the work that you saw reflected any broader trends in the creative?
I think at an award show there is always a combination of big productions as well as simple ideas. The fact that Mountain had severe competition from Vim "Prison" only goes to show that creativity follows no patterns. As far as humor is concerned, it has had its share of glory for years and this year wasn't different. I guess a smile or a good laugh never goes out of fashion.