Radio Star
Posted on July 15, 2017

Firas Medrows, radio juror at Cannes Lions and executive creative director at DDB Dubai, discusses the experience of poring over 1,460 pieces of work and the debates that followed

Now that the Cannes Lions adrenaline rush is over and I’m back at my desk and the reality of our business, I’m ready to share my judging experience with all of you. 

First of all, it was an honour to be part of the radio jury this year. It’s definitely the best thing that could happen to any creative. And I was fortunate enough to be part of it this year and serve with 14 very humble and talented jury members from around the world.

We had a total of five days to go through approximately 1,460 entries. And we spent the first three days shortlisting the worthy contenders. The fourth day we had to re-look at the shortlist and briefly discuss each piece to finally lock down the list. The fifth and final day was the most important, interesting and inspiring, and the longest as well. We wrapped up around 11.30pm.

The overall judging process was tough. With the number of entries we had to go through, the work needed to be really different to grab our attention and it did, especially the grand prix and gold winners, where we had the least amount of discussion around them.

We were also surprised to hear a lot of average work. It’s not a game of luck. Like a lottery where you buy a few tickets hoping that one of them could win. Cannes Lions is not about luck. It’s about a fresh idea built on an insight with great overall craft. Trust me, having one of the two won’t help you enough. We had some really nice ideas as shortlists, bronzes and silvers, but they didn’t go higher because they either lacked on freshness or craft. So, every time you think of entering your work, keep in mind that the judging process is tough and every piece of work will be scrutinised before making it to the shortlist or an award.

At the end, it was a fascinating experience to hear all the good debates around the work and how each one of us had our own take on it, which sometimes made sense and sometimes didn’t. All discussions were professional, respectful and objective and centred around rewarding the best work. And we all left happy and proud of the work we awarded.