Seven years of Cannes, and I finally persuaded the missus to join me here ,even if for a couple of days.
I'm staying at an apartment and the first thing she did upon arrival was pull me up for the mess. Women will be women. And men, men. The kids don’t seem to be missing us much so far. All phone calls to Gurgaon end with “Don't forget to get us many gifts.” I like the single-minded message and the accent on 'many.' I don't suppose that means a box of 'many' chocolates, though.
Thursday was clearly Bill Clinton's day at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. The former US President had a packed auditorium enthralled, with an impassioned plea to the creative industry.
His Clinton Global Initiative works in the fields of poverty and conflict. He urged the industry to capture the world's imagination through "diverse networks of creative co-operation." He said that the diversity of opinion is important as long as the "goal is to reach an agreement".
He added that we must realise that "our common humanity matters more than our interesting diversity". For clients around the world, there was some brilliant advice from Marc Pritchard, who runs global marketing for Proctor & Gamble.
He urged clients to set their creatives teams free. Pritchard remarked that while it's easier to say no, or to politely stall an idea to death, you will get the best from your creative team by sometimes simply saying yes.
In another talk, Martin Sorrell, fresh from picking up digital agency AKQA, said, “It'd be arrogant for people in London or New York agencies to think they are the centre of creativity." He felt that Chinese and Indian creativity rank up there with the best. And speaking about Indian creativity, Taproot snagged two nominations after their film shortlist for I Am Mumbai yesterday. The first one was in the film craft category for I am Mumbai again. And the second one was in the titanium & integrated category for A Day in The Life of India. All the three nominations were for client Bennett, Coleman & Co. Guess both would be keeping their fingers crossed on the final day. There's another agency that bagged a nomination, too — BBH India for work done for Google Chrome in the film craft category. So as far as India is concerned, hope is not lost yet in the categories of film, film craft and titanium & integrated. Way to go, guys!
Most large networks establish some sort of a camp of their own at Cannes during the festival. These provide meeting and networking spots for their employees, clients and guests. And everyone seems to know someone in every agency. Which means you can always corner an invite or two for an agency party.
Thursday and Friday are rest days since there is no award ceremony. Many delegates, being from foreign countries, use the opportunity for some local sightseeing. We opted for a quick boat ride to the Abbey at St Honorat. Known for monks who have been praying in silence for ages, it's an island surrounded by near-transparent blue sea dotted by boats of all shapes and sizes.
Tomorrow's the finale. Some of the biggest awards will be announced and handed over. It'll be followed by the closing gala. Soon it'll be Monday morning. And alu ke paraanthe.
The author is Managing Partner and Chief Creative Officer - EuroRSCG India. He can be reached on twitter at @thesatbir