A French waitress at a restaurant by the Palais once gave me a perspective that changed my world-view of the Cannes Lions awards festival completely. She said that first the bigger stars come and all the hoopla happens around them. Then the smaller ones come by to trash the place. That perspective spoilt the trip for me forever.
Of course, the Cannes advertising festival is still the biggest and the most flamboyant of advertising festivals across the world, and it is iconic for its own reasons, but the big screen stars, the mega bucks stars and their red-carpeted 70 mm show just gets over when ours starts.
So, for all the local folk, it’s a very different feeling. And I think Cannes is all about perspectives.
For once, it’s a bit like the World Cup. Last time, I was sitting next to a German, who suddenly patted me when an Indian entry got a metal. I was surprised and said, “Not mine”. He said “Your country!” Countries get together. Contingents get together. We all hang out together. Flags go up.
Another interesting perspective that you get is all the issues that we face are mostly the same across the world. You ended up nodding much like you nodded when you read Luke Sullivan’s ‘Hey Whipple Squeeze This’. I remember having met this creative team from TBWA Paris and they were cribbing how the client was asking to make the product bigger.
Sitting through the films that have been sent from across the world gives an interesting perspective too. You actually get to see the reaction of the world audience. Live. In the same hall, you have people from all over the world watching films after films, all the films that have been sent from across the world. Sometimes people laugh out loud at the end of a commercial and that is so spontaneous and so lovely to see. Because until then, it was one dark room with several heads and suddenly there is a loud laugh.
I am hoping to find some new, interesting perspective this time around too. Some 12-odd years back, I attended a seminar here in Delhi, in which a UK design company predicted that everything is going to converge in one gadget. They didn’t say which, but they said it would be a one-machine world soon. And today, that’s a reality. Our cell phone is our world. It’s our telephone + camera + watch + alarm clock + music player + video player + gaming console and more.
I am looking for such insights into the future. Hopefully, I won’t have to attend seminars that say digital is here! Because that’s what you keep hearing. Even now. I think we should get over the novelty and talk about work that goes on the medium versus being in awe of the not-so-new medium.
I also hope India wins a lot. We have great talent here and our people have become great craftsmen. So, there’s no reason why we must not win a lot. All the same, it has a lot to do with who’s done what in his country and also how many pieces are entered and how the work is packaged. Quite often, local insights take a beating and universal work wins. But in the end, great work just leaps out of the thousands of the entries.
Titus Upputuru is National Creative Director at Dentsu Marcom