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Entering the Lions’ Den with Saatchi Geneva’s Jason Romeyko



Saatchi & Saatchi Geneva ECD and International Creative Director reflects on judging more than 2,000 pieces of Direct work at Cannes Lions last week

Entering the Lions’ Den with Saatchi Geneva’s Jason Romeyko

By 9.30pm on day five of judging I stared at the tired faces around the room and asked myself: “Am I good enough to be here? Am I creative enough?” My fellow jury members were individually so talented and culturally insightful that one thinks twice before speaking.  I realised that my years in the industry, my position and my awards ceased to matter. I was in the Lions’ Den. And all of us there know good ‘meat’ when we see it. 

Then I slapped myself. Focus on the work. It’s all that matters and it’s why you’re all here. And you’ve still got to make it through day six.

It was an honour to be a first time juror at the 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Being a Creative Director is already one of the most privileged jobs in the world as everyday you decide whether people’s ideas live or die. However, to select the best of the best in the world is downright scary and humbling. The pressure on your choices is unimaginable. There is a burden of responsibility owed to the thousands of creatives around the world to give their work the most careful consideration.

In Direct, we looked at more than 2,000 pieces of work to find the top ideas – the ones which generate a powerful emotional response instantly. 

The origins of Direct lie in flat or dimensional mailings, but in the screen age we can see a thrilling convergence of traditional and digital media. I get a real buzz from those kinds of crossover ideas – they make me want to immediately engage and participate. For example, take ‘Penny the Pirate’ for OPSM, Audi’s ‘The Button’, ‘The BBQ Bible’ and ‘Vroom, Ring, Boom’.

The campaigns that stood out were those that not only generated an immediate response but also carried a longer-lasting, re-usable message. By that I mean ideas that were highly shareable or even better, ones that are sustainable enough to see again and again. Think ‘Beldent Identical Experiment’, ‘Inglorious Fruits’ for Intermarché, ‘The Sound Of Honda’, Coor Downs’ ‘Dear Future Mom’, ‘Sweetie’, and ANZ’s ‘GAYTMs’.

However, I did feel that we had an over-abundance of social or public awareness campaigns entered in every single category. Although they hold a valuable place, as an industry we need to remember we are there to help bring outstanding creative solutions which effect positive change on clients challenging businesses.

In the judging room discussions ranged from purrs to roars with our inspirational Lion King Jury President James McGrath [Clemenger BBDO Creative Chairman] keeping us in check. The Festival organising team coordinated our egos with patience and generosity. The incredible people I judged with will be friends for life.

And although the hunt for the best work is tough, the chase is nonetheless exhilarating – somewhat reminiscent of the thrill we all feel when making great ideas happen. 

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Saatchi & Saatchi London, Fri, 27 Jun 2014 13:13:43 GMT