Cannes – The Jury’s Still Out

Petra CannesThere may be three weeks to go until the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity begins, but in my role as PR Lions juror, it’s already well underway. My fellow jurors and I are in the middle of pre-judging 300 individual entries – so if you see an agency person become physically ill from the sight of one more video or case study, you may have spotted a jury member.

I am overwhelmed – not by the number of entries, but by the incredible quality of work I’ve seen. It’s an honor and a challenge to judge so many cases against the four Cannes criteria – research, strategy, creativity and results – with a ranking from one (poorly) to nine (brilliant). Why no 10s? I guess we’ll always be striving for perfection.

Of course, the predictions have begun. David Gallagher, ICCO president and Ketchum’s Senior Partner, CEO Europe, was one of the first with some bold suggestions, but, I can’t resist making a few of my own. Let’s see on June 22 who was right.

The return of stunts 

The PR stunt – a one-off event or installation created to be seen briefly by a selected group of journalists or consumers – is back. But whereas in the “old” days these stunts relied on traditional media coverage, today they’re amplified using PESO – paid, earned, shared and owned media. Now, a stunt that takes place in front of a small physical crowd can attract the attention of millions online.

Shareability is the new currency

To AVE or not to AVE – that’s not so much the question. Rather than ad value equivalency, the new currency for success is “shareability” – whether a campaign is liked, commented and shared.

Advertising will (once again) dominate PR

I believe this year’s PR category will be dominated by advertising agencies… again. Not because PR agencies “don’t get it”, but because ad agencies simply enter more. Winning isn’t just about quality – it’s a numbers game. While some PR agencies will be rewarded for cracking the code on what makes a winning entry, there are still too few of them. So don´t whine – instead, focus on doing break through work and entering more campaigns for 2015!

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Petra Sammer is Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Germany, where she promotes brand storytelling and delivers award-winning campaigns for the likes of Burger King, Bosch, BMW, Kodak, IBM, Mattel, Merck, Pixar, Starbucks and Sennheiser. Stating “we [as individuals and global brands] are all journalists now,” Petra employs a 5-step model for turning brands into storytellers to help them “break through” and connect with their customers. Based in Munich, Petra is a Cannes PR Lions jury member, and recently served on the Eurobest jury. @petrasammer