It’s agency time in Cannes. By the time you finish reading this you will know why. It’s a perfect time to inspire the community and clients who are present at Cannes. It’s about creating the buzz. Apart from impressing clients the buzz helps in attracting and retaining talent.
One thing is very clear – that agencies use Cannes to engage the clients and showcase their talent and show their commitment to their clients and the industry by parading their top honchos.
Whether its parties are exclusively for clients and business partners or creating lounges where clients can be exposed to new initiatives within the agency, each advertising agency is outdoing each other. It’s an agency rat race metaphorically speaking. There are special and private areas at these lounges and parties reserved for clients making them feel special and wanted and part of the club.
Sample this, Young & Rubicam have partnered to brand Campaign’s Pocket Cannes guide to the 53rd International Advertising Festival. The advert in the guide also proclaims Y&R’s Recovery Party. Bloody Marys, Mimosas and breakfast food will be served and the party starts at 3.30 am to sunrise. The Y&R guys certainly believe that the best way not to have a hangover is to stay drunk.
Grey EMEA has brought out a supplement with Campaign on cities that inspire in Europe and beyond, where a senior creative honcho from that city talks about why and himself. Indeed creative.
If advertising agencies are there how can media agencies stay far behind.
Carat has advertisements in the Lions daily edition newsletter proclaiming its new positioning of Transforming Communications. Initiative has done a campaign to promote bloginitiative.com to say that it knows digital consumers well and what is wrong with rating system.
But what takes the cake is the Pecha Kucha Evening that was held on June 21, 2006 at the Martinez hotel (yes they called it Hotel Martin in an advert to honour none other than Sir Sorrell). Pecha Kucha, if you are wondering and thinking, is the Japanese tradition of informal chit chat. The Pecha Kucha evening was hosted by Wunderman/WPP and had an impressive line up of speakers. Interestingly enough, each speaker had six minutes and 20 slides to make their point. The only problem was that their slides were pre-programmed to change every 20 seconds.
The line-up included, as the host introduced the Principal Sir Martin Sorrell and other honchos of WPP network, apna Indian Piyush Pandey, who showcased learnings from the street to an opening round of applause and others like Hamish McLennan, CEO of Y&R; Irwin Gotlieb, Chairman of GroupM; Alexi Orlov, Vice Chairman of Wundermann to Craig Davies of JWT to MSN’s Eric Hadley and many others from the group.
Two brilliant adverts in the Lions daily and email blasts plus the buzz and the pull of the leader saw a packed house even as the print awards were being held simultaneously. Sir Martin was his usual commanding, funny and inspiring self, talking of a machine to churn out creatives and talking about the egos of the managers of his communication empire.
Pecha Kucha was a creative way to break the monotony of panel discussions and showcase thought leadership. This is what Cannes is all about. It’s the Ideas Showcase of the advertising world.
One could argue that these are meaningless gimmicks and that this is the last thing advertising wants, but going by the response of the audience at Pecha Kucha, I am sure they went back inspired and buzzing in their head. Agencies know their craft and are baptising their own. I hope agencies in India also get proactive and start showcasing their capabilities at industry forums and inspire all of us. In the process they might impress clients and attract talent. What more could you ask for!