pack a punch – enter cannes lions

by Editor on 31 March 2015
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The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2015 is the place to shine and anyone who has won a Lion will tell you it certainly packs a punch. Cinemark, the local representative for the Cannes Lions and its affiliates, not only encourages South African agencies to enter as they have ‘what it takes’, the organisation has some key points of importance to share when it comes to entering the awards.


Distil the core of your work down to a concise and uncluttered delivery that is two minutes maximum, but make it shorter if possible. You also need to remember that the jury will watch hundreds of case films a day so any presentations that are too long will not be appreciated. Also take note that you are dealing with professionals who understand whether a project has merit based on a concise, coherent explanation.


Less is more – so many case films fail to communicate a clear idea and a compelling strategy that isn’t cluttered and confusing. There is a great need for focus and clarity.

Summarise the idea in the first 30 seconds

Explain the idea upfront and quickly so that the jury can understand the dimensions of the idea and the consequences and avoid using unnecessary build up or stylistic filler. Treat your case film like a piece of editorial with all of the information early on and the expansion of the idea to follow.

Provide some culture and context

Take note that you are dealing with an international jury and that English is not always the first language so diversity needs to be respected. With this in mind, also remember that entries that hinge on cultural nuance or unfamiliar cultural context may require additional explanation. You also cannot assume that the jury will interpret ambiguities, which is why subtitles, supporting materials and introductory slates are all encouraged and welcomed.

Take a fresh perspective

You may have lived and breathed the work but the jury has not, so look at the idea with a fresh pair of eyes and distil it down to its core for a new audience.

Narrative and storytelling

Tell a story and structure your explanation around a simple, powerful, succinct narrative.

Make it easy

The idea should speak for itself so avoid creating barriers with unnecessarily elaborate production and keep it straightforward. Provide markers and signposts – don’t make the jury have to search for the key messages.

Think carefully about category selection

A clear link between the category and the entry is vital so utilise the dedicated entry managers for guidance, advice and support by emailing


If you have a strong piece of work and intend to enter it into a lot of categories, ensure that the case film is tailored and adapted as necessary. In other words, package your entry in a way that highlights the relevance to each category.

Avoid industry jargon and hyperbole

Don’t use buzz words and marketing speak – you don’t need to sell, you need to explain. Social is also everywhere so listing social networking sites and ‘free media coverage’ is not useful.


Make sure you provide them and they are robust – meaningful, measurable results are crucial. Be honest, specific and provide workable, quantitative figures and stats. In some categories, results count for 30% of the mark. You should also link results back to the original goals strategies and objectives. Don’t fall at the last hurdle.

Cinemark’s Yvonne Diogo says, “Follow the tips and not only can you submit an award-winning piece but you can also ensure that you talk to the judges with succinct messages and short and punchy submissions that make a big impact. This year’s Cannes Lions is going to be more competitive and more thrilling than ever before and is a great opportunity for South African agencies to showcase their talents on a global stage.”

South Africa, it’s time to dazzle! Deadline for entering is 6 March for Creative Effectiveness category and 27 March for all other categories so act fast.

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