“Ladies and Gentlemen, we have a 17th member of the jury. His name is Juan”. This is how Ralph – President of the 2013 Cannes Radio Lions, kicked off the proceedings last Saturday.
He then went on to explain that Juan was the name of the chauffeur who had picked him up from Nice airport and driven him to Cannes. Along the drive, Ralph had asked him what kinds of radio spots grab his attention. “Fast, simple, no complicated…” had been the answer. So a picture of Juan, the 17th member of jury, went up on one of the walls in the jury room to remind us that while some of the spots might impress us, getting the attention of a busy, distracted chauffeur is a lot tougher.
Fast. Simple. No complicated.
And from that wall, through the next four days of deliberation and debate, Juan gave his silent but resolute opinion on each and every one of roughly 1500 entries.
Simple, beautifully produced and to the point spots such as the campaign for ‘Ragu’ quickly got a thumbs up. The campaign for Pre-owned Mercedes titled ‘Nest’ and ‘TMA’ impressed him too. Although they were a bit long, they were beautifully written and meticulously crafted. (We also suspect that the subject of cars particularly interested Juan). The Dove ‘Auto-tune’ spot especially moved him with its simplicity and powerful execution. And the Lego campaign brought an instant grin to his face. Fast. Simple. No complicated.
At the end of four tough days, there we had it. The best of the radio work entered at Cannes 2013. We thanked Juan and thought that it was the last time that we’d be seeing him. But he made one last surprise appearance.
It was at the ceremony to award Radio Lions that Ralph introduced Juan to the audience and invited him to come onto the stage. Juan did, to thunderous applause from the audience.
I fly out on Monday, and I can’t help wondering whether it will be Juan who will drive me to the airport. If it is, I know I need to keep the conversation Fast. Simple. No complicated.
Oh and one more thing. When ‘Dumb ways to die’ came up for the Grand Prix vote, Juan raised his thumb in appreciation and mouthed a simple ‘Si!’. Typical Juan.
The author is Executive Creative Director, McCann Mumbai