Musonda Katongo's Cannes Diary: Days 1 - 4

IMG_0328 (1).jpgMusonda Katongo, head of design at Y&R NZ, is sitting on the Design Lions jury. Katongo, along with many other jurors from the region, is reporting exclusively for Campaign Brief.

After travelling for around 25 hours, it was surreal stepping through the arrival gates into the humid Nice air.

It's my first time attending the Lions, but not my first time to this part of France. I backpacked along the coast years ago, staying in dodgy flea-ridden hostels. So this time promises some agreeable contrasts.
That first night, the jury gathered for a casual first meet up. It's naturally an interesting group, with members from all corners of the globe. For almost all, it's the first time judging at Cannes, and each of them are without exception super chilled and down-to-earth, despite their lofty titles. Interestingly, we realised that unlike most category juries, we have a majority of women, as well as a majority of practitioners working outside of the traditional advertising agency model.

This speaks to the evolving relationship between design and advertising, in the Lions in particular, and led to some interesting insights and discussions. Many of them had never encountered the art-form known as the case-study film, but quickly worked them out. It seems too that the Lions are not as well entered by pure-play design agencies yet, as some other shows. The jury is really keen to make a positive statement about the stature of design here, so hopefully we can help change that.

The first two days we split into smaller groups to judge different subcategories, with some overlaps between groups. This meant looking at physical boards, but also looking at real objects where possible, like posters, packaging, promo pieces, etc. Then there's the digital sub-categories, and most things had films, so we viewed these on computer terminals. We were given tablets to enter our votes into, which mostly worked well.

Then on the third day, we came together to review and rank the first shortlist after those first two days. Then things got real. Entries that we thought would get through hadn't, and vice versa. It also meant there were some entries through that individuals hadn't seen before. Lots of discussions were happening, a lot of agreements, but also some passionate debates.

On the fourth day, we had to crystallise our shortlist. That meant sitting around a horseshoe formation, reviewing films, and taking votes on things we wanted off, as well as bringing some things back in. It was brutal. We were there til 11.15pm, after an 8.30 start, but we arrived at a final shortlist which everyone is proud of.

Tomorrow we decide metal. It's gonna be very interesting...

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