Monday, April 23, 2007

Clio Executive Jury Chair Roundtable

Arrived in Albuquerque after a 24-hour flight. It was 12.30 in the morning and about 3-5 degrees when I reached Bishop’s Lodge Resort & Spa. This place began as a private retreat for the city's first archbishop.

Brrrr… isn’t Santa Fe supposed to be warm this time of the year?

Piñon Lodge #191: This was the lodge where I stayed. It was named for all the Piñon trees that cover the expanse of The Bishop’s Lodge property and much of Northern New Mexico. Each lodge invokes the spirit of the Southwest with its atmosphere of earthen palettes, richly textured Navajo rugs, and glowing stone fireplaces. Nice.

The next morning, I woke up and realized what a beautiful place it was. I had a tough time breathing after walking a few steps because this lodge was located at 7,300 feet above sea level.

Beautiful Wind Sculptures like this one called Bean Poles, made of copper and stainless steel, were scattered all over town and in Bishop’s lodge.

Met up with Tony Gulisano, the newly appointed MD who’s been with the organization for over 25 years. We touched on the Clio’s judging format. For a guy I’ve never met, we spoke like old friends and his experience in the industry humbled me. His enthusiasm for the show and respect for the people who did the work impressed me immensely. “It’s all about the work!” he kept repeating.

Judging began on March 31 straight after breakfast.
My welcome speech went something like this:
“Decisions, decisions, decisions.
Is it in? Or out? It is a Gold, Silver or Bronze?
We’ll be making thousands over the coming week.
So how do we decide what to look for?
I’m not going to tell you as most of you have been judging in more international shows than I have.

We’re not only the judges of the show but the editors of the Clio book.
Would you pick anything that shouldn’t be there?
Will you be proud of it once it’s published and millions of creatives read it?

You decide. Thank you.”

Cienega lodges were converted into judging rooms. They are named for the wetlands located directly behind it. We sat on comfortable sofas staring at huge plasma screens and 30-inch Apple cinema HD display.

First round
15 judges were divided into 3 groups. And each group saw one third of the work submitted. Preliminary voting was simply a process of punching “in” or “out” in our PDAs. 3 votes move the pieces into the second round, and this process alone eliminated about 80-85% of the entries.

Print was judged the old fashioned way. Proofs on the table. Refreshing to finally read the copy, as we didn’t get to see it clearly on the computer screens before.

Second round
Most of the pieces that I liked made it to the second round. This time, the entire jury member would assemble to vote on the shortlist. Judges were required to vote on each piece from a scale of one to ten. Once the scores were tabulated, each piece provided was provided a point of reference to begin statue discussion. Sometimes, a high scoring piece would not even make it to the shortlist after statue discussion. This is the difference between silent voting and voting after a group discussion.

Just before statue discussion, everyone walked around the ballroom to see if they wanted to bring something back as a wildcard.

After the second round, each jury was allowed to recall only one piece of work to reconsider if it should be added to the shortlist. Interestingly, not that many pieces were brought back from the dead. Some that did went on to win heavy metal.

The judges getting ready to cast the next vote. Is it a Gold?

Statue discussion
Now that the “easy” part was over, we went on to the most important section. Who’s going to get the statues? To break the ice, we started with the student category. And even then, I felt some tension, which was actually a healthy thing to have. I made sure everyone had a point to make, and that all their views heard. No matter what argument they made, at the end of the day, their hands did all the talking. A majority vote determined if a piece deserved a statue.

After completing one category, we could easily see the tabulated votes. This helped Jury members to continue discussions without losing any time. The organizers at Clio really did a marvelous job in creating a very efficient system.

The whole Clio jury right after the judging was complete. Hurray!!!
One week together and not a single catfight.

From left, Icaro Doria,creative director,Saatchi & Saatchi New York,
Jonathan Kneebone, founder/creative director, The Glue Society.
Doerte Spengler-Aherns, creative director, Jung von Matt-Basis Gmbh, Satoshi Takamatsu, executive creative director,Ground LLC
Tokyo, Japan, Lotta Lundgren,copywriter,Åkestam Holst,Stockholm,
Yours truly, Julian Watt, executive creative director, Net#work BBDO
Johannesburg, Jason Schragger,creative director,Strawberry Frog
Amsterdam, Christina Yu,vice president/creative director,Lowe Roche,Toronto, Rodrigo Almeida,creative director,Almap BBDO

Saõ Paulo, Sebastian Arrechedera, vice president/general creative director, DDB Mexico City, Gustavo Reyes, general creative director
Euro RSCG, Buenos Aires, Eugene Cheong,regional head of copy
Ogilvy & Mather Singapore and Sylvain Thirache, executive creative director, DDB Paris.

When I started the process, I was apprehensive about how to deal with creative egos from around the world. But when the judging ended, a day earlier than expected, everyone left with a deeper understanding of each other’s cultures and beliefs. Because of where this took place, in the mountains, it really felt more like a creative retreat than a global judging event.

The Asian Judges from Print/Poster and TV/Cinema. Juries from several categories gathered outside the lawn at the Bishop’s Lodge for drinks and some finger food. Yum.

From left:
Yours truly, Josy Paul, JWT Mumbai, Tony Gulisano, Jureeporn Thaidumrong,JEH United, Ltd., Eugene Cheong, O&M Singapore and Eddie Booth, Leo Burnett HK.

Jonathan Kneebone, saying grace before a meal at the El Farol restaurant. It combines classic taste of Spain, Santa Fe and Mexico with a unique blend of art, dance and aroma. New York Times rated this place one of the best bars on Earth in 2005.

On May 9th, I will be flying off to South Beach, Miami for the annual Clio Festival. Not only will I be presenting the statues to the winners, I will be joining a panel of other jury chairman in the Jury Chairs Roundtable. On stage, we’ll engage in a free-form discussion of the year’s creative work.

Andrew Keller (Vice President/Executive Creative Director, Crispin Porter + Bogusky) who chaired Content and Contact, and Mark Tutssel (Worldwide Chief Creative Officer Leo Burnett Worldwide, USA) who chaired Television and Cinema, will be among the panel of 5 chairmen who will candidly share what happened inside the judging room.

Results of the winners will be announced in the Awards Gala at the Jackie Gleason Theater from May 10-12th.

No comments: