So after numerous sessions of Talks, Forums and Workshops (and a lot of alcohol consumption), the clear buzzword of the year was collaboration. Collaboration not just for the sake of it but collaborations that you are constantly learning from.
So this year it was a completely different experience for me. This is my second year at the Cannes festival and since the last time round it was an experience as a judge, this year was one of a delegate. Whilst I loved the experience as a judge, I am liking that of a delegate a bit more because I can now make it for all the talks I wish to participate in (which was not the case when I was on the Cyber Jury as our judging went on till late in the night). So it was auditorium hopping for me.
I started off with trying to get an attendance for the OK GO session but the place was full by the time my turn in the queue reached the door. So I headed out to catch the back-up session on my list at the same time slot, which was truly an amazing life story of Samantha Morton. The talk was titled 'Female First' that was addressing the issue of a low percentage of female directors in the film industry. Her story was inspirational and if anyone of you think they have it hard should listen to what she has gone through. I was in awe of her and quite inspired of her story. The take out from her session was don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do ... if you truly believe in it you will have the confidence to make it happen.
There were a few boring sessions and a few stand-out ones. I will not name the boring ones but will stress on the good ones. Marilyn Manson came out on stage not quite as I expected him to, sans makeup. He talked about the person he is and the performer being two separate people. A good insight was that even his name is a fake made up of 2 names - Marilyn Monroe and Charles Manson. Something that stayed with me even post the talk was a quote from him - "Stay true to yourself but keep evolving". So true when it comes to him.
I loved the Julia-Louis Dreyfus talk with Cristiane Amanpour & Jeff Bewkes (the CEO of Time Warner) She was witty, smart and gave great insights into the process of good filmmaking. Bewkes also gave great insights on the need for trusting the people you work with and giving them space to bring out the best in them. It's true in the case of a good agency too.
Richard Edelman and Jamie Oliver talked about creating movements and not campaigns. It's a great way to look at the future of communication. He said we need to earn the right to innovate. What a powerful statement! Al Gore was his diplomatic best when on a debate with Sir Martin Sorrell. It was fun to hear him talk about his past whilst sparring with Sir Martin Sorrell on the talk about climate change and the importance and need to act now.
The best talk of the festival by far was the interview of Pharrell Williams by Ryan Seacrest. A perfect balance of good questions and apt answers. They talked about collaborations and the intent behind every good creation. The talk was filled with some great quotes, all from Pharrell.
"It's not a good collaboration if you are not learning something."
"We live on the brink of the present and the future is untouchable."
"Do everything with intent. Make sure intention is the number one ingredient in your creation."
When asked about focus groups he basically said that they suck and it restricts innovation and anything new. He used the analogy of food. If I ask you to try a new cuisine you will not know if it's good unless you try it. When asked about how he looks 24 all the time (he is 42) he attributed that to his mind. A curious mind is a young mind. When asked about what compels him to take on many roles in his career he says very humbly that there is a healthy bit of delusion in everything he does but also went on to say that music is the skeleton key that opens every door for him. By the end of the talk you are in complete awe of his personality but at the same time you just see the humility in his words. Seacrest also asked him how does he manage to stay grounded all the time and he attributes that to the people he works with. He surrounds himself with people who are way better than him. He stays grounded because the others float.
The work was alright but the quality of direct and promo was quite good. Though there were some controversies, the Cannes committee quickly sorted the same. But clearly when seeing the work I could see the spends on advertising moving towards the experiential kind. The festival ended in a grand fashion with some of the best fireworks I have seen in a while and whilst the Asia region and more importantly the India region did not fire this year let’s hope, much like the title of this article reads, we can do a lot more the next year round by doing just that.
The author is CEO & CCO at Hungama Digital Services.