Diary of a Jurist: Peter McHugh, Press & Outdoor

Chief Creative Officer, Managing Partner, Carmichael Lynch, Minneapolis

June 17 First off, if you’re trying to lose weight, I suggest the Ambien diet.

I took one of those suckers in Minneapolis, slept through dinner and breakfast on the way to Amsterdam, was woken for landing, then slept through lunch from Amsterdam to Nice. Sleeping your way to weight loss, I think there’s an opportunity there.

Anyway, judging began in earnest on Friday, June 17. There were a record 11,000+ entries. My I.D. badge says I’m number 19 of 24 jurors. I hope that doesn’t mean they think I’m the 19th best juror. I’m pretty sure I’m at least 14th or 15th best by now.

We went through the inevitable weeding out process—out with the obvious: the ill-advised, the gratuitous penis jokes; in with the fresh, the unexpected, the more subtle penis jokes.

But by day three, we’d arrived at our shortlist, and the assemblage of work was even more impressive than some of my fellow international jurors’ mobile phone ring tones. The U.S. is really lagging the rest of the world in cool ring tones.

The awarding of the Lions took place last night—lots of spirited discussion, particularly for the Outdoor Grand Prix.

One thing that struck me was the lack of success of (usually American) 3D print advertising. And interactive executions that required the reader’s involvement didn’t do nearly as well as I’d expected. I thought some of them were exceptional, but “classic” print seemed to carry the day with most judges.

Having said that, there really was some exceptional art direction, particularly from TBWA Paris. They had four strong campaigns that looked like nothing else out there—made me jealous. Brazil did well, too; much better than the U.S. Hard to tell if the U.S. just had an off-year, or our attention was drawn to TV and interactive. I guess time will tell.

This morning, we judged the student competition—a tough brief. I guess I was the only one who thought radio might have been more suitable than a print ad for people who can’t read, but in the end, the winning teams did some really great work. And the judges’ discussion was as spirited as it was for the Grand Prix.

Tomorrow we have a press conference, and then at last we’re done. Unless you’re Carlos, the Brazilian judge, who seems to have journalists tailing him around Cannes at all times.

That’s it for now. I think I’ll go enjoy my relative anonymity on the terrace.