Aurora Magazine

Promoting excellence in advertising

How to catch a Lion

Published in Sep-Oct 2015

Winning a Cannes Lion takes more than a great campaign.

1. It requires a lot of brain work, but it also has to include a big piece of heart in it You have to come up with great work but you also have to believe in your heart that you can win. Telling yourself ‘it’s possible’ is an extremely powerful motivational tool. And often the first step towards winning anything.

2. Reflect the truth
Your entry should comprise of work that was approved by the client and ran in the media. Jury members can spot a scam and falsified results a mile away! This has wider consequences than just not getting the award. Not only will your entry be disqualified, you will also be banned from entering the award show in the future.

3. Take out the unnecessary things and keep it simple
If you cannot describe the entire idea of what you are entering in three to five words, you don’t really have an idea. And if you can, this will most likely become the title of your entry.

4. Dig in deep
Creativity and hard work don’t stop at the campaign. The real work begins when you start the entry process. Only 20% of how good your idea is matters. 80% of the importance lies in how you package it. Keep up the creativity throughout the entry process, from how you prepare the case film, the presentation board and the write-ups. This is hard and meticulous work; give it proper time and thought.

5. Keep your ears open for advice
If you are part of a large network, tap into it and ask for opinions. Put your inflated ego aside and learn from others – who might even be on the jury panel within your network. Get in touch with previous winners and ask them to evaluate your work. Watch videos of jury members giving advice on how to present entries.

6. Play the categories and the subcategories right
Award shows often depend a lot on how your pick your categories. Your budget will only allow you to select a small number, so look for the subcategories within the main category. Research to see which one your work fits best in, look at previous years’ entries to see what kind of work won in a particular category. Spread your work across as many juries as possible (each category has a different set of jury members). Increase your odds by learning how to play the categories.

7. Aim above the curve
Just as you begin by understanding your target audience before creating an ad aimed at them, begin your award entry preparations by understanding the audience your entry is aimed at: the jury. They are human and have emotions. Play on those emotions. Stand above the curve. Jury members look through thousands of entries a day and your entry needs to touch them in some way in order for it to be remembered and shortlisted.

Ali Rez is a freelance creative director. Assam Khalid is Strategic Planning Director, BBDO Pakistan.