rich levy fcb health

Since returning from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, where I was proud to serve as the jury president for the Pharma Lions, people have been asking me for the “real” inside stories about campaigns the jury could not agree on.

This month, I’ve chosen six pieces of work where the jury debated long and hard before coming to a final award (or not).

Rich Levy is chief creative officer at FCB Health.

The Wrestler, Novartis, Klick Health

The Wrestler
Novartis, Klick Health

This Bronze-Lion-winning entry was possibly the most polarizing entry that won. In early rounds, it barely made the shortlist. In the medal round of voting, it did not get enough votes to win a Lion. At that point, a single juror came to this entry’s defense. Here was a drug for a rare disease that had a fun, integrated campaign that got everyone’s attention. It was executed well and had excellent results. I think many jurors couldn’t get past the humor. Many couldn’t get past the “I would never have approved this idea” syndrome that happens in a room of creative directors. Yet one juror not only liked it, but also loved it. And after three rounds of voting, that person helped it win an award.

Teva, Havas Lynx, Speed Donating

Teva, Havas Lynx
Speed Donating

Considering Havas Lynx won Healthcare Agency of the Year, I thought I’d highlight a campaign that didn’t win and reveal some of the discussion around it. Speed Donating, which discussed the importance of organ donation, was well known by the two jury members from the U.K. Both remembered seeing the press around it. The issue was the campaign’s craft was lacking in comparison to other pieces we saw. Nobody on the jury was a champion for the idea. While it had good results, it couldn’t get past its lack of unique craft.

The World’s Smallest Booth, Lartruvo, Area 23

The World’s Smallest Booth
Lartruvo, Area 23

Every now and then, the tenacity of a juror attempts to elevate a piece of work. That was true with this entry. While the campaign secured a Silver Lion pretty early in the process, one juror kept bringing it up for debate, insisting this idea was worthy of a Gold Lion. This juror tried four times, but the entry did not move up. At the end of the process, a great idea was awarded Silver. Still an amazing achievement for a convention booth.

Cochlear, CHE Proximity, A Hearing Test in Disguise

Cochlear, CHE Proximity
A Hearing Test in Disguise

This is a prime example of entering your work in the perfect category. The campaign won a Gold Lion for industry craft and sound design. Why was this perfect? The entire idea hinged on the success of the sound design. And it was incredibly successful. This campaign had many champions. It was a top vote getter in every round of voting. A simple idea that was executed just right and wasn’t overproduced. In fact, the video literally spoke for itself. Great job.

Biogen, CDM New York, Zac’s Play Day

Biogen, CDM New York
Zac’s Play Day

Every year, there’s a piece of work the agency almost didn’t enter that wins an award. Such is the case with the Silver-Lion-winning Zac’s Play Day. When speaking to the creative director, he told me this was a piece he recommended not be entered. Yet the local team really wanted to enter it. And they were right. Immediately, the jury fell in love with this simple story. The storybook was executed in a way to normalize the condition. The case film was especially powerful for a number of jurors. Throughout the medal round, this piece kept moving up the ladder — first shortlisted, then Bronze, and finally Silver. A deserving award for a well-done piece.

Elanco, Saatchi & Saatchi Düsseldorf, Elanco Animal Health

Elanco, Saatchi & Saatchi Düsseldorf
Elanco Animal Health

After a long day judging, sometimes just a fun piece does really well. Such is the case with the animal health entry from Elanco. Entered in the illustration craft category, this campaign was fun, entertaining, and well executed. In a category such as animal health, where there’s little competition, that’s very good. This was a winner. And in the jury room, everyone completely agreed. In fact, this campaign had the least amount of conversation of any entry. It scored well, was entered in the perfect category and subcategory, and won. Simple as that.