Cannes Confidential

David Lubars, Titanium jury president

Chairman and CCO, BBDO North America

June 21: First minutes of looking at work, and I’m already struck by how good the judging group is. I’m not blowing smoke here. We have Trevor Beattie, Nicolas Brien, Warren Brown, Adriana Cury, Craig Davis, Tom Eslinger, Scott Goodson, Filip Nilsson and Chuck Porter. Clearly, extraordinarily talented people like judging this category.

The other thing that strikes me is how harsh you have to be when assessing this work. By that I mean, when you judge TV and see something brilliant, you give it an award. Done. But with the Titanium, we’ve seen some brilliant things that won’t win. Because it can’t just be brilliant—it also has to change the game. It’s an award for doing it first.

For example, last year, Crispin won a Titanium for its Counterfeit Mini work. This year, we’re seeing lots of similar hoax type of ideas. Some are quite nice, but the genre has been done. We’ve also seen lots of BMW Films-type things. Again, too late.

There is something people should realize: Creating a great campaign using 10 different touch points doesn’t necessarily make it a Titanium winner. We’ve looked at several great integrated campaigns, or TotalWork, as we call them at BBDO, but you realize that 10 touch points is the definition of a campaign today—it’s the price of entry. You comfort yourself by saying that the cool work will win in other categories.

Some have worried that we wouldn’t award a Titanium this year because we’ve returned to the massively difficult criteria of its original charter, which basically is to reward someone for inventing the wheel. Good news: We think we’ve found a few worthy things. One in particular is brilliant. It’s simple, breathtakingly fresh and immediately, universally loveable. If it wins, it’ll send a message because it’s as game-changing and innovative as BMW was four years ago, but absolutely nothing like it.

June 22: We made great progress yesterday and today, to the point where we finished judging. There’s no need for tomorrow’s session. How did we do this when the number of entries doubled from last year?

Because it’s easy to see, very quickly, what’s purely, undeniably new and what isn’t. We saw several brilliant things, but not a lot of brilliant and never-seen-it-before things. In fact, so few, we only shortlisted three pieces. But they’re worthy pieces, indeed.

The thing we feel strongly about—and this sounds funny from someone who advocates simplifying awards shows and cutting categories—is adding a new category in Cannes.

We looked at some great integrated campaigns here. Some were even phenomenal. But there’s no way to recognize them at Cannes. Integrated isn’t what the Titanium is about anymore. And you have to separate print, TV, outdoor, cyber, etc. in the other categories—there’s no way to see how a big idea can be executed across all media. There should be.