Kitty Lun's Cannes Lions Diary: The decision process to decide on the Press Grand Prix

KittyLun_TerrySavage.jpgKitty Lun (left, with Cannes chairman Terry Savage) was China's representative on this year's Cannes Lions Press Jury. There was great debate over the final decision on the Grand Prix winner. Here Lowe China's Chairman and CEO takes us into the jury room and explains the extremely close final decision making process.

All the Cannes gold-silver-bronze and grand prix results are out. Everyone has gone home. The sun, sand, sea and the inconvenience of taxi strike in France is now a distant memory. Suddenly I remember I promised to send my Cannes diary to Campaign Brief Asia.
Instead of reporting who has won what, or brilliant speeches I heard in the Grand Audi, which everyone can check on the Cannes Lion website, I thought I owe everyone an explanation of what happened in the Press Jury Room when we voted on the controversial Press Grand Prix.
First of all, we had the best jury room among all categories. All press entries were in hard copy and there's no videos to view, our room is a sunny space with a huge wrap around balcony overlooking Le Croisette. 
Kitty Lun_PRESS_GROUP.jpgKittyLun_jury.jpgThere were over 4000 press entries. Seventeen of us were divided into two sub-juries during the preliminary judging. Flipping through the entries, we all kicked into poster-effect mode, meaning, the piece needed to grab your attention within three seconds, in order to get a decent score to enter the long list.  Press is the most primitive form of communication. It only has the headline, the visual and some copy text to communicate.  It is easiest to spot whether there is an idea or not. The creator cannot hide behind a long-winded case video to explain the motive behind.
All jurors would score the long list and determine the shortlist, which was about 8-10% of all entries.  I think this gave the jurors a clear understanding of how others evaluated the entries and formed their own opinion on determining their preferences mentally.  I was quite happy with the long list because most of my favorites were in the pool.  After the shortlist, came the exciting part of the process: discussion and debates to determine the metals.
Our panel was tough.  We only selected five golds during the first round, which was way below Cannes' official quota. All other golds were pushed up afterwards.
Our Grand Prix seemed to spark off a lot of controversy.  During the press conference and the award ceremony, Press Jury president Pablo del Campo had explained our process and principle arriving at the Grand Prix. But many people were still asking me about it.
A CREAM THAT GIVES YOU WRINKLES.jpgOnly five of all entries were eligible as Grand Prix candidates: being a Gold award winner and not a public service ad.

We eliminated and arrived at the final two. It was a split jury and no one was giving in. However, the festival said we had to come up with a Grand Prix. It was extremely rare in the history of Cannes Lions and only twice it happened that there was no Grand Prix. Our jury did not know that a few days later, in the Branded Entertainment category, there was no Grand Prix either!
Therefore, although it was late and was on Father's Day, our group kept debating and tried to persuade each other and voted and voted until late in the evening.  We got a Grand Prix.
Museum_GRENADE.jpgMuseum_MACHINE GUN.jpgActually, some of the unqualified work deserved to be mentioned here. For example, the Breast Cancer Foundation skin lotion that featured an old, wrinkled lady (above); and the campaign for a French military museum (pictured right), which won several golds already.  Unfortunately, both were public service ads.
Our two final candidates for Grand Prix were very good.

They would not come this far if they were not. 

One was for a big advertiser. Those who supported it said it was iconic and smart, so smart that no words were necessary, because you just "get" it.  Its photography was world-class.  Those who felt it was not a Grand Prix, said it was a ten-year-old idea!  There was no breakthrough and it was an execution of an on-going campaign. It was a politically correct choice and would have public acceptance, but the jury should not worry about what others think of us.
The Grand Prix winner was from the Buenos Aries City Government promoting their 24/7 bikes. The cons side said it was not a big brand. The four executions were just cute illustrations, not a grand presentation. The pro side said, who says a city could not be a brand. It still needed positioning and self-promotion. This campaign attracted very little discussion throughout the process. It got through the long list, the shortlist and the metal voting easily winning three golds already. Everybody loved it. Among all the excessively executed candidates, this campaign was a breath of fresh air. The illustration strongly communicated the environmental message of the bike city idea.

Cannes Press Jury president Pablo led the long tedious debate.  We voted.  It was a split.  We could not come up with a decision. 

Finally, one of the jurors commented: "No matter which piece wins, the jury should have no regret. Both are good ideas and good executions.  But we cannot punish a piece of work because it is not a big brand with big budgets."  And we entered into a final round of voting.  The Buenos Aries Bike City won!



Interesting said:

Thanks for insights Kitty. Difficult category to judge these days as all the jury know none of these ads were created for the public yet Cannes bosses insist on a quota of awards to hand out. TG

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