For all the talk about it not being a party year, fewer delegates, less people, less good work, and so on Cannes 2009 was still an advertising mecca. People who produce ads, create ads, shoot ads and run ad agencies were there as well the great clients that make fantastic advertising possible. Congratulations again to Volkswagen for winning a well deserved advertiser of the year. About time, aye? So you might not have spent four hours saying hi to everyone as you walked down la Croisette as you've done in previous years, but the seminars were full, the parties were still good and in the end fantastic work won even if there were fewer winners.
Steve Ballmer figured it out, "this is not a global recession, this is a reset". This is also an advertising reset - the big idea is back and it doesn't matter how you sell it, be it an interactive film, a facebook app or a PR stunt of global proportions. Lets all remember however that those who create the big idea, and those who execute it are people who need to eat and probably feed their children. Advertising agencies need to take a long hard look at what they are charging for. Charge for the idea, and set it free. When masses of youtube folks play on your "30 minutes" making their own films, you've won - but clients should be aware that an idea like that doesn't come from out of nowhere. This is what you pay agencies for.
There were unusual winners this year, and even an honorable mention for Whassup #2 "Change" - which had no advertiser and was not a real agency piece, but the judges wanted to recognize the change in advertising and as soon as the last second played, it brought the house down.
Carl W. Jones revealed to me on Monday what hard work the judges had been put through. The universal idea is what made it as cultural diferences made some jokes hard to understand. One of the judges didn't see the pun in MTV "Cribs" Anti-Knife crime because he thought that was a school dorm, rather than a prison. They had so many fakes thrown out and then one jury had to argue - for days it seemed - about an entry which "they couldn't figure out what category it should be in". It was the Obama campaign that had category problems, and it made history by winning both the Titanium Grand Prix and Integrated Grand Prix.
There were whistles at the Titanium awards, but many cheers as well. The stunning "Love Distance" film for Sagami Rubber industries had little cheers from the audience and the winners went all rock star on us, running down the aisles throwing out condoms as they bounced up the stage to accept their award - causing even more cheers. BBDO winning the network of the year had the upper left balcony jumping for joy (so much I was afraid the balcony might break).
The parties were fewer, sure. There were no yachts rented, no ice-skulpting live on a beach, even the gala fireworks were more subdued and artistic but that doesn't mean there was no party at all. MassiveMusic hosted No Party "the party is cancelled" at Noga Beach - where there were No Drink Tickets, No Hosts, No Bouncers and a guy who ran off with the concept and decided to go all No Clothes. Again, good ideas tend to simply replicate themselves.
I tried Bambusing as much as I could, but the worthless phone I had actually died on me already on Tuesday. So I did a few Bambuser interviews as well as short updates, one here with Jesper Gadeberg discussing music in advertising on Friday.
Meanwhile WrathofCannes let us spy in on their parties over in the states using our Bambuser connection - fun.
Saturday I finally managed to Bambuse a chat with JoeLaPompe , the French Badlander man from joelapompe.net who has been collecting since 1999 - and he's timely too, see his latest "yes we Cannes" twin pairing.
I'll get more gossip up as a collect data into this rather useless laptop. ;) I have learned one thing on this trip it is: get better hardware! Lighter, smaller, smarter and faster. Also, get your own french portable internet connection - wifi sucks everywhere, including in the press room where it got painfully slow as people uploaded & downloaded things.
Another thing I have now learned the hard way, never try to fly back from Cannes on the Sunday. You need another day to decompress - after talking ads with so many brilliant people and learning much in the seminars, you need to stay just one more day to collect your thoughts so that you may charge in at work - totally reset.