REINHARD MOVES FROM SIDELINES TO VORTEX AT CANNES: AS HE PREPARES TO LEAD THIS YEAR'S JURY, DDB HEAD AIMS AT FAIRNESS

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Last year, Keith Reinhard was mostly an observer at the International Advertising Festival in Cannes. He hosted a glamorous beach party that ended in the wee, small hours, with the DDB Worldwide chairman-CEO entertaining guests with tales of his early days in advertising.

This week, Mr. Reinhard won't get too much time in the sun or on the party circuit. He is presiding over the Cannes jury, a notoriously tiring and tricky post from which he must juggle sensitive egos, tone down international rivalries, and sort thousands of entries to find and honor the world's best ad work.

'NOT THE OLYMPICS'

"This is not the Olympics," Mr. Reinhard said in an interview last week. "[My goal] is to make sure [judges] are objective, not caught up in mob psychology or a nationalistic movement. This is not about which country scores the most points."

While admitting "there will always be a nationalistic spirit," he warned, "it shouldn't take over or cloud objectivity."

This is Mr. Reinhard's second stint as Cannes jury president, so he's already had an up close look at the turf wars sometimes fought in the jury room. When he was elected in 1984 as the first American to head the jury, Mr. Reinhard said the vote was far from unanimous and that several European members were outraged by the choice of a non-European chief judge.

One French judge in particular made his protests quite clear, Mr. Reinhard recalled.

"I don't speak French," he said, "but I knew it wasn't a seconding speech."

WINNING KUDOS

But Mr. Reinhard's even-handed approach won the '84 jury over, as did the Grand Prix winner-the acclaimed Apple "1984" Macintosh spot created by Chiat/Day.

As a reminder of how tough a term as jury president can be, Lowe Group Chairman Frank Lowe this year will make his first trip back to Cannes since his disastrous turn at the top of the jury in 1995.

Mr. Lowe enforced stringent voting standards and his jury did not award a Grand Prix in either the print or film competitions, causing an uproar among delegates.

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