Narve Thakrar, managing partner at DDB Remedy is representing Australia on the Cannes Pharma Lions jury. Thakrar, along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors writes exclusively for CB.
Day 2 – first day of judging:
As any well respecting Aussie would, I woke up at dawn and headed to the beach for a morning dip. There’s a pre-festival sleepiness in Cannes and even the security guard at the hotel was puzzled as to where I was heading at that time in the morning. Certainly no coffee shops open, in fact there was not a single other person at the beach. Water was stunningly warm, clear and calm. Upon mentioning the swim to my fellow judges, I was met with shock and awe that this is a normal part of life in Sydney.
Today was the first day of judging and we were escorted from our hotel to the Palais as the festival was quite literally being built around us. The task of the day was creating our formal shortlist. With approx. 350 entries reviewed remotely I wasn’t quite sure how long the day was going to take.
As expected, the diversity of perspectives in the room really challenged work and the jury room swayed back and forth throughout. Whilst clearly there were favourite pieces of work throughout, I was really pleased at the debate, collaboration and desire to dig deeper into the insights, data, results (where applicable) and execution. Somewhat like an onion we were peeling back layers ensuring enough substance behind the ideas existed.
We did get a lunch break but one that was fraught with danger from the world’s largest seagull. They hit different here. Fortunately, the gull just grabbed the scallop kebabs from the buffet.
Back to judging after lunch and the consensus was that we’d be wrapped by 5pm. We didn’t wrap until 9.30pm – more than 12 hours since we started.
Despite significant differences in opinion across the jury, it was collaborative and super respectful. Testament to that was that even after being locked in a room together for such a long time, we headed out for dinner and a few drinks as a jury.
Tomorrow, we make the bigger decisions on metal – can’t wait.