Paul Nagy, chief creative officer of VMLY&R Australia & New Zealand, is sitting on the Cannes Outdoor Lions jury. Here Nagy writes exclusively for Campaign Brief on the start of the judging in Cannes.
Outdoor Jury, Day 1
You know that feeling when you’ve travelled for 32 straight hours to judge the most prestigious award show on earth, but because you were in first class, you’re fresh, alert and ready to go?
I was lucky enough to be in premium economy, but I still creaked out of Nice airport like an Australian version of Mr Burns from The Simpsons. I couldn’t feel anything below my waist, I smelled like a stray dog, my hair looked like it had been caught in a lawn mower and then I was suddenly surrounded by the beautiful people of Cannes… which only made me feel like more of a hot mess.
But from the moment you begin judging here at the Lions, all that quickly fades away and you are left only with a feeling of doing something uniquely inspiring.
Everything is thought out to the smallest detail, and we are told this is to ensure we have nothing to focus on other than the work. This guarded space and time is not something most of us get to enjoy very often, so that alone feels like an incredible luxury.
We are drilled about fairness and responsibility by our jury president, and told that if we deviate from a righteous path, a sophisticated algorithm will catch us, they will confront us, and then ‘work out what to do with us’. No shit, it was implied we’d be administered with a barbed-wire, Cannes Lion enema if things like network or agency favouritism was detected in any way.
Once again, we were told, this was to ensure we didn’t have to worry about any of that crap. You can’t do it because you’ll get caught, so just concentrate on celebrating the very best work. It’s a liberating system, and one they should be proud of.
And so began the judging.
Hundreds and hundreds of pieces of work, all individually scanned and judged with little devices that chime pleasantly every time you enter a rating – making the room sound a bellbird aviary.
The first two days, like the weeks of pre-judging we did up to this point, were still mostly a solitary affair. Following that, as a group, we will begin discussing all the work we have sifted into a potential shortlist, and judging by the conversation with my fellow jury members, that too will be an inspiring affair, as they are a passionate, sharp and articulate bunch.
(In fact, they’re so smart, I’m more than a little daunted… but I suspect this may be because I was the only one who managed to lock themselves in the toilet today. We weren’t allowed phones, so I was reduced to calling out for assistance until a lovely lady came and rescued me – fortunately not from my jury… Hopefully they’ll never find out. Still, it hasn’t left me feeling like an intellectual giant.)
Pictured: Nagy in the Cannes jury room, wearing one of the thousands of entries into Outdoor this year