LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful

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LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful

Australia’s Terry Savage, the long-time former Cannes Lions chairman and CEO, was appointed LIA Awards chairman late last year. He attended his first LIA Awards judging last week in Las Vegas. Campaign Brief asked him for his thoughts on the quality of LIA juries and why the judging system works so well.


Last week I discovered “that you really are never too old to learn.” I had just attended my first LIA judging in Las Vegas, it was normal stuff, brief the juries, set the tone, explain the methodology of The LIA judging process. What was not normal, however was the quality of the juries and the deep and rich discussions that occurred in all of the jury rooms .

Working through why the experience was so rich and the comments from the judges about the process were so glowing , and it got me to thinking why.

At LIA there is no remote judging at all, so the juries get to see every piece of work in their category, the judges also have the freedom to upgrade and downgrade throughout the discussion stage of the awards . As such they have the opportunity to compare and ensure that the golds, silver and bronze awards all live together in terms of consistency and quality in the final show.

Judging by its very nature, requires this review as juries can be tough at the beginning and then soften up or vice versa, and having the fluidity to only lock in at the very end of the show gives a more representative view of what the body of work looks like .

It is these 3 factors, let’s recap , 1- no judging from home or remotely, 2- juries seeing all the work in their category, 3- the ability to review awards to the very end of the judging process, that in my view makes the LIA process so powerful .

Let’s see some quotes from some of the juries and presidents which I think validates what I am saying:

Bruno Bertelli, Global CCO of Publicis WW/CCO Publicis Groupe Italia/CEO Le Pub

“The best thing about judging in LIA is the very selective jury. It’s about discussing until the very end. You can bring back work, you can uplift, you can downsize the work. This is rare and unique. As the quality of the juries is very, very high, there’s no defending your network work. It’s all about getting the best of the best and to recognize the quality.”

Tom Beckman, Global Chief Creative Officer at Weber Shandwick

“Thank you for inspiring well-organized and personal days in Vegas. The overall atmosphere is one of the best I’ve experienced in all my years of judging shows.

I came hoping to be inspired, not only by the work, but also by other people’s perspective on the work. And I was not disappointed.

The purpose of being on a jury is to change your mind about what’s good and why. You want to leave with new perspectives. Sitting down for three days with industry experts to discuss and curate benchmarks for earned creative is a privilege.

I believe we got to a good place for the first year of PR. It’s really good not to have online pre-judging. Especially with another jury (as in Cannes). That method kills a lot of good work due to lack of discussion, guidelines and calibration in the jury.

Doing all of the judging in person together always delivers a more solid result including more insights from the discussion.”

Greg Lotus, Global Head of Production, VMLY&R

“Judging the London International Awards was such a fantastic experience. The room had such great diversity and balance with representation from at least 8 different countries and opinions from both the production company side and agency. The discussions exhibited passion for the creative and great respect for the craft.”

Doerte Spengler-Ahrens, Managing Creative Director of JvM SAGA/Partner at Jung von Matt
Jury President – Non-Traditional

“LIA is one of the most prestigious awards. We have the best jurors. We have the best discussions and you learn a lot. We take it very seriously to find the best work. It gives LIA a certain currency which is highly ranked in the world.”

Ali Rez, Chief Creative Officer, MENAP, Impact BBDO
Jury President – TV/Cinema and Online Film

“What a fantastic jury to be part of at LIA – London International Awards. Four intense days of looking at hundreds of films from around the world with this group of amazing people was a big learning experience for me: we laughed, we cried, we yawned, we were mesmerized, we argued, and we became friends.

Feeling great about the final results for both Online and TV/Cinema work – shortlists are out already so check them out on”

Armin Jochum – Founder and CCO at thjnk Germany

“Sounds obvious, but it’s not. Laser focus on an outstanding idea, meticulous attention to detail, and the special energy that’s generated when you bring the right people together – that’s what leads to work that really stands out.

The same is true of award shows. Thank you, LIA, for the luxury of bringing together a truly international jury and for putting quality above politics at all times. It is your tremendous passion and respect for the creative product that makes all the difference. And turns LIA into an exceptional jury experience.”

LIA is an award that focuses on creativity – it does not charge late fees for entries, and it helps through its Creative LIAisons program to train and develop the next generation of creative talent.

As I sit on the plane homeward bound – I have a great sense of satisfaction on the whole process this week, but what pleases me the most is that I know from many conversations that so many of the judges at LIA experienced the same sense of satisfaction this week as I did.

LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful LIA Awards chairman Terry Savage: Three factors make LIA Awards judging process so powerful