In the comments of the last post an anonymous person asked why the Creative Circle nominations for Best Ad are not included in the nominations for Best In Timelength.
Mr M Denton Esq told me that it was down to the simple fact that these categories were judged by different juries, and that the opinions of those juries happened not to coincide (for those who don’t know, CC organises several juries, each of which judges several categories to Silver level. These Silvers are then put before the incredibly prestigious Gold jury to see if any of them are allowed to be converted by some mystical process of alchemy into Gold).
But the question does raise an interesting point: does your award haul, and consequently your salary, and consequently your career, and consequently your happiness depend on the composition of the jury, rather than the quality of the work?
In a word, yes.
There will always be the solid gold behemoths, such as Gorilla and Surfer, that will find a warm hug from any 10 creatives (or at least the majority of them needed for the award), but when the ad’s quality is a matter of opinion, well, you’d better hope that jury has the personality or mood that will lean towards your schtick.
How many times have you heard of a jury that had arguments or stalemates about the inclusion of a piece of work? That means that at least two equally prestigious industry bods felt strongly enough in opposite directions about your ad that neither would concede to the other.
In D&AD Gold judging, it happened to Cog and Twister; Surfer did not get the Cannes Grand Prix; the supposedly classic Sony Balls lost the same award to Guinness Noitulove by 20 something votes to 2 and Dunlop Unexpected did not get a pencil for best ad because the jury could not decide whether it was advertising or art.
The best work polarises people, eliciting strong opinions for and against it, but that means that when it comes down to it, the composition of a jury can mean the difference between Gold, Silver and nothing.
Equally, the not-best work can find itself on the pleasant end of many juries’ decisions because it doesn’t stimulate enough to piss people off.
That doesn’t mean it’s better. It might just mean that it’s not worse.
I forgot to mention, the most glaring example of this is Ikea Lamp. It won the Cannes Grand Prix (beating Cog) and the Clio Grand Prix, then got a mere Merit in the One Show and one D&AD craft entry for direction. With four D&AD-esque juries it would have been another miniscule footnote in ad history, whereas four Cannes-esque juries would have made it one of the most awarded ads of all time.