After four gruelling days of jury duty for the Cannes Lions Pharma Jury, if you asked me what’s changed for me, I’d say, “One simple question.” No longer will we ask ‘Will it win at Cannes Lions?’ for each entry. The new question for us is ‘Should it win at Cannes Lions?’ This simple question could change our complete outlook for an awards entry, setting the bar higher than ever before.
In other words, the focus shifts from the glamour to the responsibility: While of course jury duty is about selecting the best possible work – the jury also has to reflect on how their choices answer these questions: What is the message we are sending out to pharma advertising agencies? Are we encouraging pharma clients to invest in creativity? Are we further refining entry categories or the rules and regulations to be more suitable for pharma? And of course, are each of us as individuals representing our country well with the other jury members?
Leave me alone – the corner in the jury room where the phones stay but the jury can’t
For those who want to understand the jury process better, the first few days cover shortlisting. The jury views every piece of work and rates it – based on the rating a certain proportion of the work is shortlisted. The jury reviews the shortlist and moves a few items out. But getting a new entry into the shortlist is another matter altogether. Each jury member gets a proposal form to propose any one entry to be pulled into the shortlist. The jury then debates and votes for each entry to decide if it does indeed enter the shortlist. And the last stage is the awards discussions during which each entry is awarded or left in the shortlist.
A messy table, a clean jury
At least for the Pharma jury, this was a good year. Incredibly experienced jury – so all the horror stories I’d heard of massive fights with other jury members just did not happen. Great work to judge. And Pharma creativity is finally seeing clients investing the big budgets so no dearth of big campaigns. Let’s hope the Indian contingent has just as great a year too.
(Praful Akali is founder and MD, Medulla Communications. He is part of the Pharma Lions jury at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019.)