Rory Gallery’s Cannes Diary #1

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Rory Gallery’s Cannes Diary #1

Rory Gallery, chief strategy officer and partner at Special is representing New Zealand on the Cannes Creative Strategy Lions jury. Gallery, along with most of the other NZ and Australian jurors, writes exclusively for CB.


For probably the first and last time in my life, I couldn’t help but notice that my diary looks very similar to Mark Wahlberg’s notorious schedule.

Here is a little reminder of a regular day for him…

Rory Gallery’s Cannes Diary #1

And this was my first day judging at Cannes…minus the healthy stuff…

2.30am – Wake up – Jetlagged as f*ck.

2.45am – Prayer time. Hope to God I can get back to sleep. It feels extra cruel when you must face a full day of judging.

3.15am Breakfast. I bought the jury some Whittaker’s. Have the genius idea to put it in a hot croissant. This is how I will make my millions. You heard it here first.

3.40am – 5.15am – Workout my eyes by going back over the 40 pages of notes I have written across 360 case studies. Creative Strategy is a hard category to judge because even when you see a great idea, you need to work out if there was actually a strategy behind it. I’ve (proudly) poured weeks into it, but a refresher feels appropriate.

6am – Shower and go back to bed.

6.30am – Golf? F*ck golf. Being in Cannes during a major football tournament is an additional incentive to come.

7am – Cryo Chamber Recovery – sweating out the Rose obviously. Mull over the idea of a Crypto chamber recovery where you can throw all your old NFTs into it, and they magically restore their value.

8.59AM – Have the realisation that I am opposite to a lot of people, and I have no good ideas before 9am.

10am – Snack – Introduce the jury to Pineapple Lumps. Something about their reaction tells me this wasn’t the cuisine they came to France for.

11am – We are working on the shortlist basically all day.

1pm – Lunch has arrived. It’s no Whittaker’s chocolate croissants.

3pm – Watch a case study for a rideshare brand. The entire business has pivoted towards a social purpose of helping parents pick up their kids from school. It’s mooted for the Grand Prix. Twenty minutes later, a toilet roll brand has the same idea for a tenuous link to a school drop-off. They both get kicked out. Commercial creativity is alive again.

3.30pm – Snack. I bought Jet Planes. My popularity is rising. Mark Wahlberg would suck in this room.

5.30pm* – Wrap up judging for the day. I feel very privileged to be on this jury. It has some of the best work from all the other categories. I am learning a lot!

7.30pm – I have nothing left for the day.

7.45pm – Who am I kidding? Tonight is the start of a very big night.

* Okay we actually wrapped up at 10pm. A 12-hour day. I think I have been up for longer than Marky Mark.