Senior communications manager for D&AD, Liam Fay-Fright, shares his views on on day one of the new, subdued Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity.
Full disclosure. I have never been to Australia. I hear, despite the dodgy politicians, that it's very nice. I work for D&AD, so as part of our business is an awards show, this is not an unbiased report from the Croisette.
First, the necessaries: Australian entries to the Cannes Lions have been increasing since 2008 but awards have gone down; there’s a buzz around Clemenger BBDO but they haven’t picked up many prizes; Melbourne is feeling suitably competitive with Sydney but as usual Sydney is taking most of the silverware back home.
I got this from a five minute chat with an Aussie ECD, who shall remain anonymous. He also remarked that there’s a weird atmosphere on the Croisette this year, and I agree. It might be the rain, but it feels more subdued and – dare I say it – business like. There’s a lot less parties, and a number of top creatives aren’t here this year, so the whole thing feels quieter despite the usual hype dispensed by the Cannes press office.
As the client community has been increasingly integrated into the event, you see far more serious lunches, emphatic nodding and firm handshaking going on, a stark contrast to the 24 hour debauchery of other years. The global economic downturn no doubt has something to do with this. It’s harder to flash your client’s cash when you need them to sign for the bill.
The sad thing is I suspect most creatives didn’t get into the industry to listen to the suits tell them why their work isn’t selling enough cars or fizzy lager. Cannes used to be an escape from that. The heady days are gone.
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