Despite the seminars, the talks, the awards nights and the partying, time seems to stand still in Cannes. At least the days seem longer and, really speaking, they are. There’s daylight here till nearly 9 pm.
While most delegates look like having arrived, party spots like the legendary Gutter Bar and the bar at Martinez aren’t yet overflowing with inebriated admen and women.
Which is perhaps why the opening gala is tonight on Day Three to allow everyone to be here. It is a splendid experience to be in a party with thousands of advertising professionals from around the world.
The day has so far been packed with some powerful presentations.
The creative effectiveness, media, mobile and outdoor Lions will be handed over in the next couple of hours. India's tally should improve after its dismal performance on day two. Ogilvy was the only agency to take home a metal. But with some strong contenders such as CreativelandAsia and its work for Hippo in Creative Effectiveness, there should be some respite.
For the Indian contingent, as indeed for others in the packed auditorium, the highlight was the panel discussion on Indian creativity. It was an excellent presentation including R Balakrishnan or Balki of Lowe Lintas and film-maker Shekhar Kapoor.
Balki spoke mostly on powerful advertising ideas and Shekhar was all about how social media is going to nudge advertising into taking a new direction. Within India, as social media percolates down to Tier -II and -III cities, the collectivity of response will become more and more powerful and difficult to ignore.
Shekhar, a few weeks ago, had started #Adswedontbuy from his twitter account. Within 24 hours, four million impressions on social media had people expressing dissatisfaction with advertising for products they considered regressive or unethical.
No wonder, he felt that since 15 per cent of the global teen population is in India, in a connected world, they'll wield the power to exercise influence globally.
He also pointed out that India is a land of never-ending story telling and the time had come to reinvent the way we tell our stories.
Balki opined that social media mostly performs the role of social commentary and may not play a defining role in how brands advertise in the next year or so.
In another panel discussion, YouTube's Lucas Watson had a very interesting point to make about the online theme to expect in the future.
The exploding availability of recording devices like phones, he said, means we will see the New View. There will be more of things we've never seen before because these recording devices have access everywhere. Also, the network of video influencers will proliferate. Forward thinking brands will sign them on to create exciting content.
Which, my friends, means only one thing: be careful with what you do in that party.
|India has eight shortlists in design
For the third day in a row, India had a decent run in shortlists even though metals have not come thick and fast. Barring Ogilvy, which bagged a bronze in direct marketing for its work for Vodafone, agencies are yet to walk home with a Cannes Lion, though metal hopefuls remain. Indian agencies had a total of eight shortlists in design, a category that is considered prestigious given its emphasis on craft. Agencies that bagged the shortlists include DDB Mudra, BBH and TBWA. Of this, DDB Mudra walked away with the maximum of six shortlists for its work for Volkswagen and the ministry of tourism, followed by BBH and TBWA with a shortlist each.
|After mobile, online advertising fails to impress jurors at Cannes
Despite the hype and hoopla around digital advertising in India, agencies drew a blank in the category at Cannes. There were no shortlists at all in the segment, which means that there will be no trophy to take home too. What does this mean for the digital advertising industry and numerous small and big specialists that abound in the space: They need to work harder. Unlike abroad, digital advertising makes up just five per cent of total advertising spends in India. This means quite often than not, digital agencies have to go the extra mile to convince clients how the medium can be best leveraged. But hope is not lost, with mainline agency groups today acquiring digital assets as an investment for the future. They admit that the medium cannot be ignored at a time when consumers are increasingly congregating there. Clients, too, are finding their way to mark their presence with campaigns targeted for the medium. Some marketers are not shying away from using only digital to promote their brands. An example Maybelline New York by Lóreal.
|Radio has only two shortlists
How competitive Cannes is can be gauged from this: Of 55 Indian entries in radio, only two made the cut. McCann and Leo Burnett got a shortlist each in the category. McCann for its work for Plus Condoms and Leo Burnett for Strand Bookstore. While FM stations have mushroomed in India, the country's poor run in radio advertising indicates that work here hardly cuts ice with a global audience. Meanwhile, McCann remains hopeful it will bag a metal this year in the category the way it did last year. Like Ogilvy this year, which was the only agency to win a bronze in direct marketing, last year, McCann was the only agency to snag a bronze in radio advertising.
The author is managing partner and chief creative officer - EuroRSCG India. He can be reached on twitter at @thesatbir