At Cannes, everyone's focused on what won -- which campaign, which agency, what the tallies are for the various holding companies and countries.
But before there's a winner, there's a jury. Ad Age is taking you inside the voting room through exit interviews with various jurors. Here, Pully Chau, chairman-CEO, Greater China at DraftFCB, told us what went on behind closed doors during the judging of the 2-year-old creative-effectiveness awards, the only Cannes contest that includes five clients as well as agency execs.
Any funny stories about your time in the jury room? There were times of high and low energy levels throughout the two days of judging. On day one, after hours of working inside a dark room with heavy air conditioning and no windows, we were judging a case about push-up bras. The energy level was so low that there was total silence. Then one of the jurors couldn't help but comment on something that bothered him: "The model [male] hasn't even got a good body line to be engaging." The whole room burst into laughter ... including the seven women out of 15 judges. After that, whenever we met this humorous juror, we would tease him with a line about "push-up bras."
Which campaigns were the most debated? At the finalist for a Lion level, Ikea Sweden’s "Private Rooms Wanted.” And at the Grand Prix level, “Small Business Gets an Official Day" from the U.S., John Lewis from the U.K., and Heineken's "Legendary Journey."
Who was the most outspoken juror? Jonathan Mildenhall, VP-global creative of Coke, is always uplifting and inspiring. He was reflective and reminded us to give a balanced viewpoint on creativity and effectiveness. At the end of the day, would the work that we awarded the Grand Prix stand the test of time as a Cannes benchmark? He offered helpful reminders like this but was never a dictator. He was a perfect complement to the legendary Shelley Lazarus, who was a great chairperson.
What surprised you? None of the entries were surprising. However, we knew some entries could have been written better to score higher. Some of the given results did not directly support the objectives. Those were the disappointing surprises. There were close to 70 shortlisted entries with 40 pages per entry. That meant there was a lot of reading and video watching for the jury to do pre-Cannes to ensure enough support to prove effectiveness.
Did you learn anything? Definitely. In a world of interconnectivity, it is always amazing to meet with talented people from the other side of the globe who are knowledgeable, successful, open-minded and outspoken. People with shared dreams, passion and vision. People with real hearts for co-creating a better world for the future. I was very much inspired during the jury’s discussion on pro-bono work, ranging from a first aid music video to help heart attack victims and [a campaign] convincing a nation to not consider oil extraction in order to preserve the environment.
What work should be retired? Any campaigns that still define themselves by execution elements and confine things into boxes and formulas. Eliciting emotions through humor, music, imagination and compassion will bring the world of differences together. This is especially important at a time when things like YouTube videos travel to the other end of the world in just seconds.
What is your advice for next year's jurors? Bring something warm to deal with the central air-conditioning. Be totally open-minded. Get to know your juror fellows well during and after the process, because all that we shared behind closed doors could perpetuate into a respectful friendship. Enjoy the process as much as I have.