Cannes PR Lions Jury: Interview with Mandy Galmes, Fuel Communications

Thu, May 19 2016

It’s a real privilege to be selected as the Australian representative on the PR Jury for the 2016 Cannes Lions. As one of 20 judges, my role is to review a record number of award submissions representing some of the boldest, most creative and biggest impact earned media campaigns from across the world in the past 12 months.

I am currently in the preliminary stage of judging ahead of the Festival. Given the sheer volume of entries it is important to try and narrow the field before the Jury comes together. That said, the majority of the judging will take place in Cannes the week prior to the Creative Festival. I will be part of the lock-in which will involve working alongside some incredibly talented and inspirational comms leaders from across the world to determine who will be awarded the Gold, Silver and Bronze PR Lions for 2016.

The selection process started in 2015 and is managed locally through News Ltd who are the Cannes Lions representatives in this market. All Cannes Lion judges are senior creative leaders have won Lions in previous years. The representatives on the 2016 PR Jury come varied agencies backgrounds – large and small, independent and multinational, from established and emerging markets. However we all share insights and understanding that, when combined, give balance and perspective to the judging process – and will hopefully lead us toward unanimous decision about the winning campaigns.

There is a lot to look forward to about the opportunity. I am excited to learn from and share learnings with my peers on the Jury who come from markets as wide-ranging as Argentina, India, Norway, Poland and Sweden. I am eager to be part of discussions about measurement and results analysis best practice and most importantly, I am keen to immerse myself in all aspects of the world’s largest creative Festival.

All the glamour of Cannes aside, I have been told to look forward to long days, dark rooms, luke-warm Rose and stale sandwiches throughout the jury process!

The judging process

Fast fact – only about 3% of what I will judge actually goes on to win a Lion. Just 3%. It’s an important number for me to remember because I am reviewing so many incredibly creative campaigns across 42 different categories. The Jury is adhering to a rigid evaluation process against pre-defined criteria to ensure that we narrow down the field fairly and effectively.

I am looking for big, bold creative ideas that have PR at their heart and clearly demonstrate how they sparked conversations, changed perception and ultimately changed stakeholder behaviour.

My role as a judge is to ultimately uncover brilliant thinking, champion innovative methods and celebrate exceptional work that excites, moves and motivates.

Ensuring diversity of Juries has been top of mind for the Cannes organising committee for 2016.

Diversity in all forms is critical for the creative industry to address – it is a key ingredient to achieving a thriving company culture, strong reputation and ultimately bold, innovative creative ideas.

It’s encouraging to see so many organisations setting targets, developing real policies and implementing procedural change to address existing disparities. At Fuel and N2N Communications diversity is one of our core values. We have worked hard to attract a diverse team of people and our leadership team is continuously reviewing our environment to ensure we support their success and growth. In the instance of Cannes, the diversity of the Jury is one of the biggest draw factors.

Where to from here for Fuel Communications?

Following on from winning Gold and Silver PR Lions in 2015 the Fuel team is continuing to work across a number of large, integrated creative campaigns as well as complex strategic work for corporate clients. We see a lot of opportunity for growth and diversity of services in our sector and we have grown the team to address this opportunity.

We have a growing, dedicated digital team; a video production crew who can’t keep up with demand; content producers who are working across complex integrated opportunities; former journos who work clients to develop long-form content; and finally, a dedicated creative to push our campaign thinking and help us deliver Gold Lion-worthy creative campaigns.

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