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Cannes Lions slashes juror numbers and introduces pre-shortlisting in bid to improve process

The organisers of the Cannes Lions advertising awards are cutting the number of jurors and shortlisting in some categories before the week of the festival in an apparent attempt to encourage “meaningful debate”.

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This year the festival came in for criticism after three agencies handed back awards given for scam work, including the controversial I Sea app from Grey Singapore, which did not even work.

The process came in for criticism jurors this year, with complaints from Australian creative Dave King he was not allowed to call out work he thought was scam – work created to win awards.

According to a press release the number of jurors will be cut by 96, or 24%, across all categories, with shortlisting for the Promo & Activation, Media and Direct Lions taking place in the weeks before the festival by a shortlist jury.

That move should take away one bugbear for jurors of having to sift through thousands of entries in two days before getting down to the work to be awarded.

Jury sizes will also be slashed across Film, Radio, Print & Publishing, Outdoor, Digital Craft, Creative Effectiveness and Mobile categories.

Lions managing director Jose Papa said in the release the Titanium jury of ten highly qualified practitioners, which awards game changing work, was the “gold standard” for the festival.

“Protecting the integrity of the Lions is down to getting the right people in the judging room,” he said.

“Some juries have been much larger than others in the past as a result of the number of entries they have to judge – but it is the Titanium jury, of ten extremely well-qualified people, that is the gold-standard.

“After extensive consultation with previous jurors and the wider industry, we have concluded that we can reduce the number of jury members while still allowing them plenty of time to judge the work.”

This year three major ad networks – Grey, BBDO and Ogilvy – handed back awards after being accused of scam.

The creative lead for BBDO announced its decision to hand back a Lion for an outdoor campaign that its Brazilian office paid to run live on stage at the festival.

BBDO handed back a Lion it won for this ad

BBDO handed back a Lion it won for this ad

Ogilvy APAC gave back another after admitting there were “elements” of a case study for an anti-rhino horn importation campaign that never happened.

And Grey came in for global opprobrium after a team of developers discovered its Isea app which purported to allow people to search for migrant boats in the Mediterranean Sea in real time did not even begin to work, grudgingly handing back its award. 

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