The ad world’s largest trade show and awards event begins in Cannes, south of France, today and will continue till June 23. Business Standard gives you a ringside view of the international festival of creativity
Known to the non-advertising world more because of the annual film festival, Cannes must also be among the most mis-spelt of global cities. Variously pronounced as Kaans, Kaan, Cans, perhaps the closest is Can (rhymes with fan).
What is now known as the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, actually began as International Advertising Film festival in Venice in 1954. The second festival was held at Monte Carlo and only the third in Cannes.
- What is now the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity had begun as International Advertising Film festival in 1954
- The festival is a week-long affair of creativity, networking and partying
- The festival is looked forward to by tourists, by those who have work to enter as well those waiting for the work to be uploaded for inspiration
- The pre-festival buzz has many favourites: Carling Beer's Be The Coach from South Africa is one
Thereafter, Monte Carlo and Cannes took turns in hosting it until 1984 where it has continued to be held since.
A week-long affair where one binges on outstanding creativity, networking and partying as if the Mayan prediction was going to come true, the festival is looked forward to by not only those who make the annual trip, but also by those who have work to enter as well those waiting for the work to be uploaded for inspiration.
This year, the number of entries seems to have touched nearly 35,000 from across the world. And delegates could cross the 10,000 barrier. One might think that only advertising professionals land up at Cannes. That could not be more incorrect. Several of the world’s largest marketers along with the most innovative ones routinely attend the Cannes Lions.
One of the highlights for me in 2012 would be the chance to see Dan Weiden receive the Lion of St Mark for his lifetime contribution to advertising and brand building. A household name in the advertising world, Dan Weiden co-founded the legendary Weiden & Kennedy and wrote Just Do It for, ok, I’m sure you know the brand name.
The evolution of advertising today is matching advancement in technology and the festival is a superb place to see the use of new media. The number of winners who use a multi-media mix and offer a strong experiential element is also on the rise. Another thing to look for is work that includes consumers and is high on interactivity.
The pre-festival buzz has many favourites and usually it is not way off mark.
Carling Beer’s Be The Coach from South Africa is one of those. They invited fans to be the coach of two top football teams and select playing elevens. Nearly 10 million responded and a match was played in front of 85,000 spectators, besides being telecast to millions more and spectacular social media surges. That is the power of advertising creativity.
In New York, Target used Marina, a 25-ft doll, to speak about Missoni’s new collection during the New York fashion week. Missoni’s Target collection was sold out within hours. Target.com crashed because of unprecedented traffic. This is a worthy contender.
Mercedes used LED lamps to turn a car invisible to communicate zero-emission fuel-cell technology. Watch out for it.
DirecTV’s Cable-effect spots showing hilarious results of discontent with cable TV are sure to pick up some metal.
While on humour, another film campaign that is set to get people LOLing and ROFLing is the Dads In Briefs series for BGH air-conditioners from Argentina. It is bloody funny and captures those embarrassing summer moments when senior men in the house move around in underwear.
The Bear Director for Canal + from BETC Euro RSCG Paris is most certainly headed for a Lion too.
Chipotle’s stop-animated Back To The Start by CAA should be a frontrunner for serious accolades.
Eternal favourite Nike’s Addiction from Brazil and Explosive Game from W+K should both do well.
Of late, technology clients have been setting new creativity standards. Intel’s Museum of Me is about an app that collects your social media data and builds an online museum for you. Awesome stuff.
Google and OK Go’s All Is Not Lost allows viewers of a music video to send in messages that the dancers will spell out while dancing. Both of these marvelous examples come from Japan. Then there’s Google Chrome’s Dear Sophie. That should do well too.
Closer home, there are a thousand entries from India.
Traditionally, only a handful of our film entries have done well. Our print and outdoor performance has been stronger.
Google Chrome’s Tanjore paintings should be a good bet. Vaseline rejoinder against Michael Vaughan’s tweet that VVS Laxman might have used Vaseline on his bat was brilliant.
I’m expecting a lot of design and print work from India to make waves.
There’s a lot, lot more to Cannes than just the entries. There are top-of-the-line seminars, workshops and speakers.
Leading the pack of speakers will be one of the most inspirational speakers around: Bill Clinton. The former president of the United States could be amongst the most worth-it reason to be at Cannes this year.
I’d like to write about the legendary South of France partying and drinking till you drop at 5am but I have work to do.
Off then I go. To fight bitter hangovers, bringing you news from advertising’s most prestigious festival so you can read it comfortably over a cuppa chai.
The author is managing partner & chief creative officer - EuroRSCG India