Eoin Welsh is one of nine South Africans elected as judges at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. Here we publish his thoughts on what’s transpired so far…
DAY 1 – DRONES, CLONES & BONES
So Day 1 is done.
12 hours and 200 case studies later. When they say Cannes judging is intense, they don’t lie.
There’s no discussion, no standing on ceremony – 25 judges immediately split into five groups of five, and let the case studies commence. 200 per group. Each day. Simply score out of nine, and move on. And on. And on.
And at the end of the (loooooong) day, among many things, I have observed:
- There should be an entire category for best (by which I mean weirdest) use of a drone in a promo. At least they weren’t blowing shit up, although every last one of them went down in flames in the judging.
- The clone effect is very much in evidence. We’ve had at least two ideas featuring dogs digging up promotional items bones-style, another two featuring potential tourists phoning random people in the countries they’re thinking of visiting, and a bunch more – and I really don’t believe anyone’s ripping anyone off – it just happens. Suck it up & move on.
- The Japanese are crazy.
- The best and worst are easy to judge. Shit is shit and great is great, but probably 80% of the work is neither one nor the other, and that makes it tricky. In a way, the sheer volume of work helps – at this stage, there’s no time to overthink anything – just make the call, press the button and move on.
- Your average Cannes judge is (to my surprise) not a rock star. Everyone I’ve met, without exception, is super-friendly, normal and really just there to genuinely assess and reward great work. If there are politics in play, I haven’t seen them yet. Long may that continue.
Unfortunately I can’t share any work, since it’s all super-secret till the results come out , but I’ll keep on with random observations and general yakkety-yak till then.
Right. I’m knackered. Off to bed.
Well, maybe a quick beer down the road.
But like I said, just the one
CANNES 2016 DAY 2 – A DAY OF RAIN & A DELUGE OF CASE STUDIES (I’M DROWNING, NOT WAVING)
Today it rained.
All day long.
Not that we cared – we were stuck in our little backstage judging booth, with 170 more case studies raining down on us.
After a while, one case study blends into the next …
World hunger/the refugee crisis/LGBT rights/global warming/moms whose kids just won’t listen is a burning issue right now.
How do you make this issue cool among Millennials who don’t give a shit about anything, on a shoestring budget/an actual shoestring/23 pesos/10 trillion Zim dollars?
Introducing – The (FANCY PROJECT NAME IN UPPER CASE).
Using cutting-edge technology/the power of social media/people’s love for controversy/drones/a midget with a spoon, we …
(insert world-changing, filibusting, look-how-clever-we-are idea here)
The world’s media picked up on the story.
Then the unthinkable happened.
(Note: if case studies are to be believed, the unthinkable happens a lot. More than you’d think, actually).
Brad Pitt/George Clooney/any number of B&C-grade celebrities tweeted about it.
Jesus Himself posted about us on Instagram.
The results speak for themselves. (Every case study says this, then goes on to speak about them). Potential reach (always potential, never actual) of 20 kazillion. 5000 zerfillion impressions on social media (still not sure what this means). A lot of other incredibly big numbers.
The government, the UN, Bill Gates and God got together and changed the laws of nature.
But best of all, three cute gerbils were rescued from Richard Gere.
Ok, ok, I’m exaggerating, but not much.
Luckily, once in a while an absolute pearler of an idea comes round, which makes you believe again.
And there are some. But I can’t tell you about them yet (hehe).
One more day of that, then we get into the juicy stuff – proper discussions & debates on what gets canned and what gets Cannes’d.
They say this is where the fur flies and the blood spatters on the walls. But hand on heart, the judges are such a nice bunch of people that I just can’t see it. And so far, we’ve all been pretty much in agreement on what soars and what sucks.
We shall see.
Right now, the only case I want to see is a case of beer.
Till tomorrow …
DAY 3 – SHORT & SWEET
Happy Youth Day!
We’re celebrating this side by having the shortest day so far – done by 2.30.
Sadly, it’s just the eye of the storm – tomorrow all 25 judges regroup & go through 340 case studies to determine a shortlist. Which apparently could take up to midnight.
And then the fun really starts, because Sat & Sun are the discussion days, deciding what gets metal… and that can apparently get messy.
So I’ll keep it short today, and let y’all enjoy your day off.
P.S. It’s still raining.
Eoin Welsh is chief creative officer of Havas WW
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