The Elements of a Cannes Award

Jury chair Rob Reilly on what it takes to win the Titanium Lions and why categories keep multiplying

Cannes Titanium Lions are among the upcoming ad bonanza’s most coveted awards. They’re also the hardest to define. Rob Reilly, Crispin Porter + Bogusky’s worldwide chief creative officer and 2012 Titanium and Integrated Jury Chair, sat on the panel in 2010, the same year his agency’s “Twelpforce” Twitter campaign for Best Buy won a Titanium Grand Prix. Adweek caught up with Reilly to discuss the judging process, what he’s looking for in submissions and whether the proliferation of categories has gotten out of hand.

Adweek: What is your vision of the ideal Titanium winner?

It’s something that is a true business-changing, industry-changing or culture-changing idea. It doesn’t necessarily have to be an ad. It could be a product, a PR idea…

What might it mean to be industry changing or culture changing this year?

There have been a lot of great things. I don’t really like to the predict, certainly as a jury president. I try to reserve my judgment.

How much extra influence do you have as a jury chair?

I would say extremely minimal extra. Hopefully what I’ll bring to it is making sure every entry gets watched in its entirety, as painful as that will be. And then, just keeping it positive and [moving]…I might influence the process but certainly not influence what wins or loses.

Why have separate Titanium and Integrated awards?

It’s a very blurry line, but I do think it’s different. I think you can have a great ad campaign that’s integrated that needs to be recognized as top in class. I think [Nike’s] Write the Future was a perfect example of “Wow, what an amazing integrated campaign.” But I’m not sure it’s a Titanium idea. It was just so well done in so many different places.

Has Cannes sliced and diced the landscape into too many categories, especially when the lines are blurry and the best ideas can go viral regardless of where they first run?

You’ll see a lot of things [where] the same thing gets entered into different categories, and you can’t fault the agencies. I think the only one who can control those is the shows. Should it be limited so you can’t enter one idea in more than three categories? I don’t know. There probably are too many categories. But Cannes also introduced a Mobile category this year. You could say, “Man, it’s just another category.” But it seems insane to ignore how the world is using technology and an important medium like mobile and not recognize innovations in the mobile space. Should other categories be eliminated so there are not as many? I don’t know the right answer. I know that’s always the debate. People like to win prizes, you know? [Laughs]

And the awards shows like to collect entry fees.

The good thing [about shows] like Cannes is, whether [they’re] collecting entry fees or not, the world is inspired, the industry is inspired, and brands more and more are becoming inspired and braver. I support any way, shape or form that that happens. If it’s connected to award shows and some self-congratulatory things out there, so be it. So long as we’re all pushed to try to be better and do better things. I need it like everybody else needs it. We all need it.

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.