Sunday morning. Relatively quiet in Cannes. Soon there will be a stream of taxis heading out to Nice airport with agency executives. Pretty much all the clients left on Friday before the big Saturday night awards bash. It’s a question of priorities.
I felt rather sorry for most of the marketers I came across. They looked like hunted beasts as they were shunted from meeting to meeting in one hotel after another.
Few got to see any work. Few got to be inspired by the possibilities of the immediate future. For me this was a very different experience to previous festivals. Meetings occupied much of the week and I spent less time soaking up the seminars than I like to.
So I missed will.i.am talking about “screenagers”, when he told marketers they need to radically rethink demographics. I missed Pharrell Williams too. Mind you, so did most of the packed house who had queued for an hour to get to see him. Look at the photo.
Almost everyone is glued to their mobile or tablet.
Attention Deficit Disorder is a modern problem and there was a mini-plethora of campaigns designed to address the issue. Havas London would certainly have hoped for something for their “Turn off to turn on” campaign for Durex, with a claimed 110 million views of the film.
I would have expected “Pepper Hacker” for Dolmio from BBDO Sydney to win. Mums were given a pepper mill, which disabled all electrical equipment in the home at mealtimes. There were tears and tantrums before the kids learned that it isn’t all bad, sitting at table and talking.
Other broken hearts leaving Cannes would have been those from DDB Melbourne, who must surely have hoped for a Lion or two for “Radiant Returns”, a classic advertising idea made to work exceptionally well in social media. 14 items of clothing were bought, then worn in a mud-bath/pig-sty/rugby match/ before being washed in Radiant and returned to the shops the next day. The campaign saved the brand from being delisted and helped it achieve record sales in Australia.
Other campaigns which surprisingly won nothing included “Saving Aslan” for Fixodent from Saatchi Milan, the story of a lion given back his bite and “Cow Marathon” from Bio Suisse by Leo Burnett Zurich. To prove their products were made with organic milk, a dozen cows were selected, electronically tagged and “raced”. Consumers could watch as the cows ambled across the hillsides of Switzerland. The first to complete a marathon (26.21 miles) was the winner.
Terrific. But not terrific enough for the judges.
In their wisdom they gave the Titanium Grand Prix to CP+B for Domino Pizza’s “Emoji Ordering”. You can now order a pizza by tweeting a pizza-shaped emoji.
Meanwhile, the Integrated Grand Prix went to Wieden+Kennedy for “Re2pect for Derek Jeter” for Jordan.
I’d really like to know how the jury justify these two choices. Neither of them seem particularly inspiring.
But maybe they are symptomatic of the fact that Cannes doesn’t know what it is any longer – a festival of innovation, of creativity, of advertising or of marketing. It is trying to be all of them and the result is bewildering.
This year there were fewer creative people than ever before. More media agencies, more clients, more suits. There were more meetings and there was more nonsense talked. But the festival would have made more money and the organisers will see no reason not to add more categories next year to pack in even more than the 13,500 registered delegates this year.
If I sound a little cynical, perhaps it is because for me there was less to celebrate this year than any other because two people died during the week. One of them was a young colleague of mine at Google, who was struck by a car on the Croisette. Sunday morning. Many of us leaving Cannes are quieter than normal.