Jimmy Lam's Cannes Diary: Day One

Jimmy Lam.jpgJimmy Lam, Vice Chairman & Chief Creative Officer at DDB Group China, is sitting on the Direct Lions jury. Lam, along with many other  jurors from the Asia Pacific region, is reporting from the jury room exclusively for Campaign Brief.

25 juries assembled into groups of five, shortlisting about 150 - 180 entries, each two minutes long, without discussion, in a room that can store aged beefsteak. By the time my group finished at 1700, I was numbed and sleepy, partly because there were quite many entries we simply didn't get it and I don't think the agency which submitted got it, and partly because my biological is still in Beijing time. Only a handful of entries still stuck on my mind.   

But then, this is always true in first round judging which will take another two days. Not to mention, two weeks before I headed for Cannes, I already did remote judging of some 300 entries from three categories I was assigned to vote for shortlist. And, it was particularly difficult for me when I live and China where the internet speed does not match up to the economic power the country is reflecting. 
We were told there are around 3,000 entries in Direct Lions which is growing year on year (after initial judging I already believe agencies just dump whatever they have to Direct to give it a shot, (good for Cannes but tiring as well as somewhat irritating for the juries).    

So, what is Direct?   

According to Cannes Lions, it is targeted communication designed to generate a measurable response or specific action whilst building and prolonging relationships. Direct Lions will be awarded to work that not only contains a distinctive call to action or direct response mechanism, but also has attributable effects on consumers' behaviour and obtains a measurable response.  

JimmyCannes1.jpgJimmyCannes2.jpgJimmyCannes3.jpgJimmyCannes4.jpgDirect Jury President Judy John, CEO + CCO of Burnett Canada added, "Long has this category evolved from what you got in the mail or the TV ad with the `-800 number. Direct is now a category that spans across media, and is as interesting and creative as it is varied. Thanks to technology, there are many more ways to reach people to elicit a direct response than ever before. Every year, we see new examples that are insightful, innovative and surprising in how they used a medium. Because all the best work speaks to someone and makes them want to do something, practically every thing can be considered direct now, which makes this a growing category and a challenging category to judge..."

Now, back to judging. From remote judging, it has been cut down to 2,400 entries and after yesterday and next two days, in theory, around 500 will be shortlisted.

As expected, all fellow juries from all corners of the world are friendly and approachable. Let's see if it will be the same when discussion starts on awarding metal.

Undoubtedly, Cannes Lions is the world's largest awards, with ever growing categories and so many jury panels judging simultaneously. Yesterday. in the area I was in, five groups of juries for Direct and another five groups of juries for Pomo & Activation occupied 10 judging rooms. I believe the juries for Health and Phama were in another area. Today, there will be another 50 jurors from Cyber and Mobile judging in the same area.

With the critical mass that Cannes Lions has achieved, not only from Lions (which will be a record year for both entries and delegates), but also from Lynx, Europe Best and Spikes, they have developed very sophisticated infrastructure for judging.

Cannes Chairman Terry Savage told us at yesterday morning briefing, they have developed a software monitoring live, the votes of each jury. Red flag will be raised for patriotic voting for own network or own country or block voting from several juries, i.e. one's vote is significantly higher than those of the other juries.  And, all juries have to sign a code of conduct agreement when accepting to be a Cannes Lion jury.

Let's see how it goes in Day 2.

Photo captions from top:
Walking to the jury room.
The huge venue for multiple rooms judging simultaneously.  The only criticism is that those rooms are not sound insulated.
Very cold room that can store aged beef steak.
Each jury's vote is being monitored, according to Cannes Chairman Terry Savage.

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