In truth, I had little idea of the scale, scope or logistics of the festival, but I soon began to understand the logistics of the Media Lions as my jury of 16 contemplated 716 entries from around the world in 18 categories.
The entries fairly reflect the output of our industry, some brilliant, many professional but not mould-breaking, others poor and a few scams or try-ons.
Overall it is a stimulating and humbling experience as you realise how much excellent work is produced and why it is so difficult to win new business.
The rules are rather vague about what an entry needs to have to win - a lot of talk about best, innovation and creativity - but nothing overly proscribed.
For the benefit of the judges I set the criteria that we wanted to see insights into the consumer of the brand, to relate those insights to the pattern of media consumption of the target, and find the most effective way to connect and engage those consumers via a media plan.
Sadly, in six categories, Best Use of Cinema, Best Use of Radio and the target audience sectors of Kids, Men, Women and High Net Worth Individuals, we felt unable to award a Lion.
In every sector we decided that a nomination needed 12 out of the 16 jurors voting for it to qualify for an award. In several cases where there might have been a highest mark, there was not the requisite clear majority.
In High Net Worth Individuals, a Lexus/Nieman Marcus tie-up and the US BMW media plan (of which BMW.films.com was only a part) split the jury.
The jury were all pleased with our choice of winners and we all would have been proud to have produced the winning work. Some felt other entrants should have won, but no winner got less than our 75 per cent approval rating.
There is definitely a technique to producing jury-friendly submissions (which neither Zenith or Optimedia understood). Entries need to recognise that the majority of the jury do not have English as a first language.
A one-page written submission with a compelling two-minute video presentation of the case history has an enormous advantage over worthy, but lengthy written entries.
Thanks to the entrants, to jurors who worked very hard and to the organisers and their administration team who did a marvellous job. Finally, congratulations to all winners, your work inspires us all.
PS. You also need a strong constitution, particularly if you're judging all day as well as doing justice to the fine wines and food of Provence.