Men on sticks and men with pipes.
Here is something I have learned. When in Europe it is important to remember that the cars drive on the right hand side of the road. As a pedestrian this means the cars will be approaching from a different direction when you cross the street. This is a crucial piece of information, especially when you step into the road and a black Aston Martin is hurtling towards you.
Another thing I have learned is : never buy 3 bags of Maltesers from the supermarket and keep them in your fridge for the duration of your stay. They will keep you in a sad, unsettled state of queasiness, especially in the morning, before breakfast.
Yesterday was the Saatchi and Saatchi Young Director’s Showcase. A reel of films by the best new, young directors from around the world. They are not all commercials, indeed the best films on yesterday’s reel were not. My favourite, and probably one of the most lovely things I have seen for ages, was "The Lost Thing", an animation piece from Andrew Ruhemann. It is flat out bloody beautiful. Please watch it, it’s on YouTube. It will be the best 15 minutes of your week so far.
There was another lunch yesterday. My big boss, Paul Smith ( no, not that one), hosted a few CD’s from around the world at a restaurant on the beach. One of the greatest things about Cannes is getting to sit around and chat with a bunch of ad people from around the world.
I ordered Steak Tartar, because I am one of the few people outside France who actually like raw mince. It came with chips, which was both cool and weird. I have noticed that the fancier the restaurant, the more rude the waiters are here. Yesterday the rudeness scale was through the roof. A simple request for the location of the bathroom was treated with utter disdain and consternation. I was eventually led to the men’s room like a village idiot being taken for a walk "here you are monsieur" (said in tone of adult to 3 year old who doesn’t know how to use the potty yet). Anyhow, it was a lovely meal.
And so on to the celebration of David Ogilvy’s 100th Birthday. He wasn’t there of course but just about everybody else was. Had a chat to Donald Gunn of the Gunn Report, who is an old mate of my dad’s from the ad days of the 70’s. He tipped Nike "Write the future" as the Grand Prix. Neil French, super-heavyweight Creative Genius was there too. There were also two men on poles, very long poles on which they perched precariously and performed acrobatic tricks. This may have been some sort of esoteric advertising analogy but I don’t think the intention carried that much depth. Nevertheless as the evening’s entertainment it was gasp-inducing.
Friday morning I was up bright and early. It was TV Shortlist day. Which, for me, meant 2 things. Firstly, the dire disappointment of realising we had not made the Shortlist. Secondly the thrill of being able to sit in the Palais and watch all the world’s best commercials back to back for 4 hours. Lovely. And it was good, even if we weren’t on it. The even better thing was that Ogilvy Joburg is on it, 4 times in fact, which is a great achievement, and I strongly suspect they will win a Lion for film, maybe more than one. This is good because Fran Luckin (the CD of Ogilvy Joburg) has suggested that if failure continues to haunt us this week then (her words) "we should just hire a car and drive off a cliff like Thelma and Louise". She said I could be Louise. I pointed out to her that this meant I would have to sleep with Brad Pitt and then have my wallet stolen. So she agreed to be Louise.
So here are my picks from what was, in places, a really strong selection of commercial from around the world. Try and watch them if you can, even if they don’t win. Although I think they will. Let’s see how may I get right.
If you want to laugh, watch "Braids" for H2OH! drink by BBDO Argentina Buenos Aires.
If you want to be tricked then watch "Exorcist" for Dirt Devil by Andreas Roth Ludwigsburg.
If you want to see the Grand Prix then watch "Write the future" for Nike by Wieden and Kennedy Amsterdam. Although it’s not my favorite, I think it will be the BigOne.
If you want to see the Craft Grand Prix then watch "After Hours Athlete" for Puma Social by Droga 5 New York. Again, my prediction.
If you want to see the audience favourite then watch “The Force” for Volkswagen Passat by Deutch New York.
If you want to see the best idea on a tiny budget then watch the entire Volkswagen Original Parts campaign by Almap BBDO Sao Paulo.
If you want to see the weird Thai commercial that will be on the reel then check out "Ballroom" by JWT Bangkok for Top Charoen Optical store.
If you want to laugh again then look at "Lift things up" by Mullen Boston for Planet Fitness.
And then right after that watch "Haka" by Publicis Conseil Paris for Online Sports Betting.
If you want to know that a good story never fails then watch "Lucky Dog" for New Zealand Lotteries by DDB Group New Zealand.
If you want to cry and be inspired then watch "Team Hoyt" for the Spinal Chord and Brain Injury Telethon by our very own Bassat Ogilvy Barcelona.
If you want to see astounding cinematography bringing an ultra simple idea to life then look at "For every breath" by George Patterson Y&R for Medibank.
If you want say "that’s amazing" then have a look at "Xylophone" for NTT Domoco by Dentsu Tokyo.
If you want to just feel good then watch "choir" by Santos Buenos Aires for Coca Cola.
And finally in Internet film, probably another Grand Prix contender the entire Skittles campaign by BBDO Canada Toronto.
Let’s see how I do folks. The Film Ceremony is tonight. So I will write my final entry somewhere within the bowels of Heathrow. Until then.
Sent from my iPad