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As Cannes Lions 2012 comes to a close...

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As Cannes Lions 2012 comes to a close...

Even as there is one more day to go at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the seminars ended on June 22, 2012. The only thing remaining to be seen now is who wins the Films, Film Craft, the newly introduced Branded Content category and the most coveted of them all, The Titanium & Integrated Lions category.

The second last day housed the customary Cannes Debate where WPP’s Martin Sorrell tables some important questions facing the communication business today. People on the stage with him this year were footballer Ronaldo, who is also a member of the Local Organising Committee of the 2014 World Cup and Lord Sebastian Coe, Chair, London 2012 Organising Committee.

Publicis Groupe’s Cannes Lions session ‘Maurice Levy invites...’ saw Marc Pritchard, Global Marketing and Brand Building Officer, P&G and Ross Levinsohn, Interim Chief Executive, Executive Vice-President, Head of Global Media, Yahoo!, on the hot seat as the Publicis Groupe’s Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman of the Management Board posed some interesting questions for the duo.

The biggest takeaway from Cannes debate this year has to be the difference that a ‘Live’ sports event can make to the economy, and the advertising business, of a country. According to Lord Coe, London Olympics has come as a “God send” given the economic regeneration that it has managed for East London. He cited three benefits for sponsors from the Olympics – business to business market participation, reaching direct to consumer and enabling to an organisation to restructure itself.

London Olympics not only is seen as the first digital Olympics but also has been criticised for being over-commercialised. But experts in the panel believe that Olympics is not just an opportunity for London but also for sportspeople and athletes and the sponsors were responsible for making it happen.

Maurice Levy’s session, was as usual full of energy and left the audience recharged with what some called the humourous prodding of Yahoo’s Ross Levinsohn. The session had it all with the Yahoo CEO’s CV, boxing career and staff morale. Levinsohn, who handled all questions well, the key point made was that Yahoo has continued to grow over the years and the key reason for this was that the company kept itself relevant and had substance. P&G’s Marc Pritchard added to that saying that a strong Yahoo was good not only for a company such as P&G but for the business itself.

TapRoot’s ‘I am Mumbai’ film has become quite the talking point at Cannes Lions, courtesy also to Josy Paul of BBDO who had shown the film at the Festival and many international delegates – agency professionals and advertisers – are already expecting the film to win in the remaining categories that it has been shortlisted in.

The biggest question of it all – at the end of the festival – is who will win the Holding Company of the Year title. The award had gone to WPP in its inaugural year and Martin Sorrell has made no pretence of the fact that he expects it this year as well. “We have had a good start,” he had said to exchange4media earlier in the week. But holding company CEOs such as Omnicom’s John Wren has also made it known in his way that this is an important award to win.

And the final point of conversation is what Cannes Lions organisers will do about the complaint lodged for the Media Lions category on an “unfair” judging process. While that would be an interesting area to look out for, truth remains that they will do nothing this week, given that they have their hands full with the biggest Cannes Lions ever. But who said Cannes conversations end at Cannes...

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