Late last week, Cannes Lions announced they will be reducing the size of the jury panels by 92 members across the board which they say is designed to ensure the highest standard of
meaningful debate can take
place. However, the cynical person might come to the conclusion that since they've added basically every category they can possibly add thereby increasing the amount of money they make from award entries,
the only way to make even more money is to reduce jury size and its associated costs.
Of course, optimistically, it's just what they've announced; fewer egos mucking up the works and, ideally, more time allowed for insightful debate on the work.
The first phase of the voting process for the Promo & Activation, Media and Direct Lions will now be completed in the weeks before the Festival by a shortlist jury. The jury members will be selected using the same process and criteria as the awarding juries and held to the same standards of neutrality and fairness. Jury panel sizes will also be reduced across the Film, Radio, Print & Publishing, Outdoor, Digital Craft, Creative Effectiveness and Mobile categories.
Of the reduction in panel sizes, Cannes Lions Managing Director Jose Papa said, “Protecting the integrity of the Lions is down to getting the right people in the judging room. Some juries have been much larger than others in the past as a result of the number of entries they have to judge - but it is the Titanium jury, of ten extremely well-qualified people, that is the gold-standard. After extensive consultation with previous jurors and the wider industry, we have concluded that we can reduce the number of jury members while still allowing them plenty of time to judge the work.”
2016’s Titanium Jury President, John Hegarty, founder of Bartle Bogle Hegarty, added, “I would rather be judged by fewer jurors who are more focused, more responsible and better qualified. Collective responsibility and the quality of discussion are lost if you have too many judges. Size is no guarantee of strength."
Will the industry accept the reduction or will we hear whining from those who might have been jury members but were precluded because of the reduction in jury size? Will smaller juries really result in better analysis of the work?