Cannes Chairman Ends Threat of Ban on German Judges

NEW YORK — The International Advertising Festival in Cannes has said it won’t ban German judges, a move that had been threatened after a dispute last month with several German agencies, according to Carsten Heintzsch, a spokesman for the German agencies and executive creative director of Saatchi & Saatchi, Frankfurt.

The conflict began over the exclusion of the Eurobest awards (owned by the Hatchuel family, which also owns the Cannes festival) from the Creative Index, a list of awards shows that 18 German agencies had agreed to enter as a way to cut costs and level the playing field among competing agencies.

As part of the agreement to return German judges, the agency executives agreed to re-evaluate the Index, according to Heintzsch. “We won’t re-think the basic [tenet of the Index], which is to save money on awards shows. A lot of people do that,” he said. But the agencies will consider sending a few entries to Eurobest, “so they don’t feel excluded,” he said.

The Germans also agreed to rescind a complaint sent last month in a letter to Cannes festival chairman Roger Hatchuel; the letter accused him of manipulating the Cannes jury selection process “for the commercial purposes” of his family. Hatchuel said he made his decisions as a matter of principle, so that no agencies should feel forced to exclude any awards shows, Heintzsch explained.

Calls to the Cannes festival were not returned.

For Paul Seentjes, CEO of DDB Germany the resolution ended what he saw as a “silly” dispute, “a bit of a storm in a glass of water,” he said. DDB is not part of the German Creative Index and does enter Eurobest, but Seentjes had signed the letter protesting the ban on German judges.

Heintzsch said he was happy to see the conflict with Hatchuel end peaceably. “[Cannes] is like Christmas for creative people worldwide. It was like your father saying you can’t come to Christmas. As difficult as [Hatchuel] is sometimes, his [festival] is worth a lot for all of us.”