Tom Martin’s Cannes Diary #2

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Tom Martin’s Cannes Diary #2

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.


Day 2 was an absolute joy. I’m not sure how, but they somehow managed to assemble a room of extremely smart, respectful people who all had strong opinions but held them lightly. I probably should discuss some of the learnings from the awarded ‘Entertainment’ work, but I think my single biggest takeaway from being fortunate enough to judge Cannes this year is that I had forgotten just how much joy I get from simply having proper time to discuss, debate, and listen to extremely smart people talk about great pieces of work. And I don’t mean our own work; we discuss that every day in reviews. I mean the amazing work our industry puts out around the world.

Jules and I are definitely going to crowbar some time every fortnight into our calendar to gather a group from around the agency, ask them to maybe bring two pieces of work they’ve seen, and discuss them. Stuff that makes us jealous. Stuff that we think was good but could have been better in some way. Or case studies we’ve seen, discussing the techniques, type, music, and storytelling used to condense a huge idea into a tiny two minutes. We all know how bloody hard that is.

Our industry has simply gotten so damn fast these days that we just don’t find the time, and we have to.

A great example came from the end of the second day of judging. There was one piece of work that we had all watched quite a few times throughout prejudging and in the room. We all really loved this film and talked about it a lot, but the benefit of actually giving the discussion time was that, right near the end of the second day, Chafic Haddad, the CCO of VML MENA, had obviously been thinking deeply about it and offered an absolute genius appraisal of the film’s timing that made the whole room reevaluate it all over again. If I had seen this work back home on an ad website, I would have quickly watched it, felt a slight twinge of jealousy, maybe mentioned it to Jules, and then run to another meeting.

This experience reminded me how much appreciation and joy I get from finding the time to slow down and become a student of advertising again.