Gary Steele, chief creative officer at DDB Aotearoa is representing New Zealand on the Cannes Direct Lions jury. Steele, along with most of the other NZ and Australian jurors, writes exclusively for CB.
For the first time ever I find myself in Cannes when it is quiet and that is a strange feeling. The Palais is empty, the walls are bare and the hallways are dark. The only activity you will find is hidden in the darkness of the jury rooms. Some juries have been here for days, and others have just started. You can feel the excitement as each jury debates and discusses their work in detail to find the best work in their categories.
I am lucky enough this year to be judging the Direct category. I am also unlucky enough this year to be judging the Direct category. It seems everything now is a direct entry and the lines are so blurred that you really have to dive into each idea to really make sure it is direct.
It also turns out it is one of the biggest categories this year. Our shortlist was not so short and finding the gold is taking some time and a shit load of coffee into the late hours.
We are getting there slowly and tomorrow we get into the final details. By the end of the day we will have our list of work that pushes the category of direct forward and we can’t wait to share that with you all.
Outside, there has been a different feeling to what has been happening inside. There was a sense of calmness that is now a sense of panic. An army of people have finally descended on the Palais and whatever was here before is now gone, only to be replaced with display stands and last-minute stage builds and people running around getting the final touches done.
Tomorrow these worlds will collide and the festival of creativity will begin. The walls will then be filled with inspiring work that will make you jealous and the hallways will be filled with people and inspiration everywhere.
Tomorrow is a big day.