June has become a very busy month – this is when the exchange4media Conclave happens, and this is also when the mother of all advertising festivals – Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival – happens. After a comparatively dull 2009, 2010 is looking good on day one, but as they say, we will know seven days later.
Some statistics – delegates are higher than last year, but not as high as some of the earlier years, and the number of entries this year is the fourth highest ever seen at Cannes Lions. The number of sales in the shops lining the roads and the streets at Cannes has gone down to zero, and the roads are looking busier than normal with various agencies gearing for their social dos. Plus the FIFA World Cup is adding its own noise to the otherwise silent Cannes roads.
India has been shining the last couple of years, and the expectations are high this year as well. The Indian delegation is very strong this year. Though some are disappointed that the India party is not happening at the beach this year, but just about everyone is looking forward to it.
The one thing that has stood out at Cannes this year is the inclusion of advertisers in every session. True, not all of them make sense from the India standpoint, but I was reminded of something Vikram Sakhuja (CEO, GroupM South Asia) had once told us, ‘advertisers add stature to an event’. No matter how it sounds to some, the statement is absolutely true. Cannes Lions had lined up some fantastic marketers on the first day – Ian Maskell, Global Marketing Director, Heartbrand Ice Cream (Unilever) was top of the list. The thought process, the manner of working together with various agency partners, and the simplicity of speaking on an idea that though one had heard of before, but still made sense – Maskell clearly made quite an impression.
The days ahead are lined up with some very interesting names, including Mark Zuckerberg, the founder and CEO of Facebook – so, it is sure to be a busy, busy week.