Tom Martin’s Cannes Diary #1

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Tom Martin’s Cannes Diary #1

Tom Martin, chief creative officer at Special is representing Australia on the Cannes Entertainment jury. Martin along with most of the other Australian and NZ jurors, writes exclusively for CB.


I’m not sure if it’s a tradition at Cannes, but walking into Day 1 of in-person judging, our very generous jury president, Geoff Edwards, handed us all a gift: a handmade, Tay Tay-style personalised friendship bracelet. It set the perfect tone for the day.

We were tough on the work but not on each other. How could we be when we have matching friendship bracelets!

As we started to judge, none of us thought it was possible to get to a shortlist in a day, but we somehow did, without taking any shortcuts. I think it’s because our jury did a bloody good job in pre-judging (so much pre-judging), and we entered the room with a pretty tight list. That didn’t stop us from sweating every single decision and curating an even shorter list—a list that we hope helps define our category for people entering in years to come.

We all aspire to do work so good that it’s considered entertainment, or at the very least, entertaining. But that doesn’t mean it’s right for this category, and this is what took up most of our discussion time. Is the entry entertainment or an ad? Or is an entry extremely entertaining but not entertainment? There were also many entries with ideas related to the entertainment industry, but the work itself wasn’t actually entertainment.

It’s not an easy category to define, and we all knew that if we didn’t get this right and just awarded the same entries that would also win in Film or other categories, we would be diminishing the value of this quite new category.

And of course, a massive congrats to all the shortlisted. It was tough, so you should be very proud.