How to Catch a LionWith the Cannes Lions Festival starting in just a few days, the question on everyone’s minds is how to win a Lion. Jury members cannot be bribed – even with a fine rosé – but there’s nothing wrong with sharing a few hints on what every judge is looking for.

We are using four criteria to evaluate outstanding work:

• Strategy & Research

• Execution

• Creativity & Originality

• Results

You can imagine that all the participating brands and agencies are doing their best to make a memorable impression in these areas with such superlative language as “most seen in the world,” “never done before,” “billions of media impressions,” “break through campaign,” and my personal favorite, “and that’s just the beginning.”

In the face of this enthusiasm, it’s important to add your own filter on top of the official Cannes Lions criteria. As there are 21 of us in the PR jury, these individual filters contribute to a well-rounded judging process.

Here’s are my own specific criteria for a winning campaign:

1. Outstanding Insights: I want to see a campaign built on a fundamental truth – an outstanding insight based in research and backed up by a strong strategy.

2. Empathetic Storytelling: Storytelling is my passion, and I believe that PR has to catch up with other disciplines in this art. So I am keeping my eyes open for the absolute best examples.

3. Wow-Factor: I confess that this is even more subjective than the rest, but when I read an entry, I’m looking for a gut reaction. For surprise and inspiration. For the unknown and unheard. After all, that´s what the Festival of Creativity, the Cannes Lions stands for.

Is it challenging to pack all of these qualities into a single campaign entry? Of course – but who ever said it was easy to catch a lion?

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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