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Campaign Brief (AUS/NZ) Online.
Campaign Brief Magazine : July August 2008
JURYISOUT Thr ee week s have passed but I sti ll hear the bloo dy voic e in my head of t he unsmi ling Fr ench woman (is there any other kind?) demand- ing we “Vote” after every ad. “Vote. Vote. Vot e. V ot e. V ot e.” Merde, I hear her everywhere. Okay, so w e weren’t kept in overnight. At the end of ever y hideously long day we did at least retire to nice bed s at t he Majest ic, as opposed to a u rine-s tained con cr et e fl oor at Guantanamo Bay (aka The Gutter Bar). And the cuisine was far, far superior to your stan- dard prison slop. This was the first jury I’ve been on where chilled FILM JURY TOBY TALBOT DDB NEW ZEALAND ACCORDING TO THE GENEVA Con- vention, the most popula r forms of torture t oday are psychol ogical, sensory deprivation, starvation or thirst, sleep deprivation, water- boarding, forced standing, Palest- inian hanging, sweatboxes and sex- ual humiliation. Another lesser-known technique practiced in a notorious prison, the for tress- like Palais d e Festival in Cannes, involves bundling 21 inno- cen t peopl e into a windowl es s bunker and forcing them to watch 4600 TV ads for six days straight. Yes that’s right, 4600 a ds. That’s more filmed material than any jury at Cannes has ever had to watch before. While friends partied outside, an added psychological form of torture (you could just about hear the champagne corks popping through the walls), we endured endless short and not-so-short films, mock- umentaries, documentaries, reality shows , user -gener at ed content, virals, 35mm films, 16mm films, 8mm films, hand-held films, mobile films, interactive promos. We even saw some TV ads. JU L Y /AUGUST 2 008 wine is served at lunch, which I mus t admit really helped me get through the endless unfunny bank ads (by far the worst category in this jury’s opinion). And what of the legendary politics that mos t Can nes juries ar e renowned for? I’m happy to say that there were no splinter groups, no block voting and no underhand tac- tics on display. In fact, I’ve seen way dodgier antics on AWARD jur ies. It felt like everyone just couldn’ t be arsed to be political , even the South Americans. We just wanted it to end. Except it didn’t. It went on and on. After four very long days (with one memorable midnight finish) we got to our long anticipated shortlist. But the shortlist failed to deliver on one important count. It wa sn’t short. It was 12 hours long. Thank God for the voice of reason that was Ted Horton – like your old man r ecl ining on hi s favou rite Lazyboy, as soon as any kind of pretentious discussion started, Ted would growl “Well I just fucking like it.” Ted hasn’t entered awards in a good few years and because of this he wasn’t overly preoccupied with “has it been done before” or “I don’t like the grade”. Just “do I like it?” He just went with h is gut. It was refreshing. Then ther e was the eccen tric South Af rican judge, Paul Warner, who sa t to my r ight. Rath er tha n deal with t he o rdeal b y d rinking himself st upid a t lun ch like me , Paul h oarded l ots o f é clairs a nd cakes and dealt with the hell that is endless bad commercials by stuffing his f ace a ll af ternoon. Whatev er works for you man. I was judging but I wasn’t judging. You might think that at 600 Euros a pop, that the average TV entry in Cannes this yea r would be p retty bloody good. You’d expect Creative Directors the world over to be pret- ty choosy about what they entered. You’d be wrong. Th e a verage TV ad was j ust that, aver ag e. An appalling waste of an entry fee. What of the 1% that was amazing? We ha nded ou t 2 4 Go ld Lions this ye ar. Th at’s wa y more th an they usually award in the Film cate- gory bu t t hen, a s we a ll a greed, 2008 was a stellar year for TV in its various forms. My fa vourite TV c ampaign was for Crest toothpaste out of Saat chi New York. Suggesting that you can get away with anything with a great smile is a huge idea. And I guess Schweppes was pretty good too (Ben Coulson paid me to say that.) Yes, we were all in scary harmony and in ju st a bout complete a gree- ment over a ll the work e xcept one teensy weensy l ittle t hing. The Grand Prix. I g uess the en dless a ds and soli- tary c onfinement got to us in the end. Just when we needed to agree on one brilliant TV spot for the big one, we couldn’t. We did a t f irst. Cadbury Gorilla all the way. But then some of the more vocal judges asked us to look deep within ou rselves an d thi nk about that magnificent Halo 3 cam- paign that breaks new ground and moves br oadband films into shared. ( “Zut Alors”, c ried t he world’s press the ne xt mo rning a s we sa t th ere u nblinking l ike th at French j ournalist f reed a fter s ix years in a Colum bian mountain in front of a hundred journalists at the press conference the next morning. “How can you be so stupeed?” Fair point. I know I had a strong preference for a c ertain chocolate ad feat uring a pr imate, but many didn’t . Most o f t he j ury c ouldn’t decide what was better, the TV ad that broke all the rules of TV or the viral campaign th at b roke all th e rules of viral. In hi ndsight, ma ybe we couldn’t decide because this y ear, the Film category was symbolically split into two parts for the first time, TV and Broadband ( “Push a nd P ull” as Craig Davis eloquently put it in the press conference) so of co urse we were symbolically split. Or maybe it was because we were completel y a nd utter ly sh agged . Either way, I c an’t h elp t hinking there should have been one winner. The crowd certainly thought so on the Satur day nig ht. Raptuous applause for the Gorilla followed by a ripple of polite clapping drowned by c opious whistling f or Halo 3 . Somehow I think I k now what the popular choice would have been. Craig Davis certainly had his work cut out a s c hair o f our jury. And despite the inevitable flack he copped by handing out two best in shows, I ju st wa nted t o c lose b y saying that we all thought he did a sterling job as president of our jury. It w ould h ave t o be t he t oughest gig, but Craig was unflappable. He was sc rupulously f air a nd, u nlike most of the 21 unfortunates on our jury, k ept his s ense of humour a ll week. Most e venings, he would unwit- a whole new place. Shit, we thought, they’re right. Fast forward four hours. It’s 9pm on a Friday ni ght. By no w we are all sp orting f ull b eards ( even the women) and our orange jump suits are all a tad soiled. The jury i s ir reversibly hung. We have ju st abou t lost the power of spee ch, so d eba ted o ut a re w e. Some of us have lost the will to live. And that is how we left it. For the fir st time in the histor Festival, y of the the Gr and Pr ix was tingly g ive t he i nmates a b it o f a thrill when he’d whip behind a pil- lar then reappear all dressed up for the show downstairs in a tux. We may h ave all lo oked like a b ag of spanners, but he looked every inch like Bond, Craig Bond. They sa y t hat in carceration c an make some men f ancy oth er men . Looking a round the r oom a t that exact moment and seeing the wist- ful g lint in th e eye of In gmar, our pale and interesting German judge, I’d say they might be right. That’s what 4600 TV ads can do ? to a man. CAM PAIGN B R I E F 25
May June 2008