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Cannes Lions 2009: Full Story

Where have the Mavericks gone? Vivek Srivastava@Cannes Lions 2009
June 25, 09

Well Cannes does celebrate creativity and it also serves as a cauldron where emerging trends and seemingly disparate entities from communication too merge and interact. The exodus of talent and lateral or unencumbered thinkers - is something that has been a cause for concern for all of the believers in the brand communication business. Listening to the speakers like Biz Stone and hearing the discourses on the emerging digital landscape and some 'naked talks' on the youth scape have pointed that the answer should be clear. The agency life in the not so distant past was the haven for such crazy and irreverent mavens. The increasing rigours of putting a metric to all efforts and shackle creativity with all kinds of pseudo-responsibilities has simply killed the agency culture.

Obviously such a breed doesn’t die. It finds newer pastures and adapts itself to the new form of expression; The Digital space. The Social Networking Space. The Viral Space. That’s where you find communication mavericks now. It will take a bit of ganging from all of us in the business to be brave and adopt the same freewheeling process to aid the current mindset of the communications and advertising business. I am quite hopeful on this count as I do see all the agencies using digital as a resource, an elixir, and a way to increase the spunk quotient in their organisations.

Any observation would be incomplete without a view on the metals tally of India. It seems like good score. Since I am leaving on the fifth day, I wouldn’t be aware of the aggregate picture after the TVC category is announced. The work from Australia, South Africa, Brazil, Japan etc is quite impressive. They all have been visible, displayed use of a new medium or technology and above all haven’t said the same old interesting stuff in a new lingo.

But I was surprised to see the stuff among metals from our country that one has hardly ever seen on outdoor, or at Point of Sale. (I do live in India and travel a fair bit too to gauge markets and consumers) This is something that makes me wonder - are these a celebration of creativity that works for businesses in times of crisis. Or is it a just a way to tell our clients that businesses/ companies aren't inspiring as clients any more hence we have to take recourse to the cricket clubs, literacy promoters, condom shops that exist in the proverbial 'patli gali' !

None the less the charm of Cannes is insurmountable and will stay that way.

(Vivek Srivastava is the Joint Managing Director of Innocean Worldwide India)

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