Chris Gotz: A Mannes in Cannes

cannes-lions-2012-jg-pyrotechnie-feu-d-artifices1chris gotz

Actually I’m not. A man in Cannes, that is. For the time being I am a man in Salt River, which is altogether less glamorous, although it is a whole bunch cheaper. There is probably a gutter bar somewhere around here too, or at least a bar in a gutter. On Friday night, however, I will be squeezing myself into an Emirates bucket seat and zooming off to the Riviera to swan around with the world’s ad larneys. I have packed my favourite t-shirts with the coolest possible motifs, a black jacket in case I get asked to pick up something gold and lion-shaped (it’s the hope that kills you) and some swimming trunks so I can plunge into the warm, murky waters of the Med.

I truly hope SA has a brilliant week. I hope we win big in radio again but also up our creds in categories beyond the “old” media stalwarts. A Cyber Lion would be huge, as would lifting the case of Champagne off Warsop’s couch (does it come with a dog?). Any Lions in Promo, Design and Mobile would also have me air punching like an 80’s tribute band. A Titanium or Integrated win and I’ll buy a round of drinks at the Gutter Bar. There, I said it. Take that overzealous finance guy.

So what are we up against ? I must admit there is some pretty daunting opposition this year.

Of course there will be the usual raft of Brazilian/Chinese/Malaysian print (mostly posters) lovingly crafted by hordes of child-illustrators and art directors over months and months. And it will be good. And we will never have seen it before, ever, chances are no-one else will have either. However, some of the work that’s been out there for a while is frighteningly excellent.

In Film there’s the wonderful Guardian “3 Little Pigs” spot from BBH London, Chipotle’s beautifully crafted “Back to the Start” which will surely also win big in craft (almost a certainty for Craft Grand Prix) – I think by the end of the week we’ll all be singing along with Willie Nelson.

Promo and Activations are suddenly tres, tres sexy. Clients love them (especially if they … altogether now … “Go Viral!!!”). In first place on that count, with over 50 million hits, is the amazing TNT “Dramatic surprise on a quiet square.” stunt. Watch it and weep. Although there’s also the Tic-tac “Worst breath in the world.” flash mob from Ogilvy Paris. Breathtaking is the only way to describe the Mercedes Benz “Invisible car” activation from those very clever people at Jung Von Matt, it will feature all week, I think.

Elsewhere there’s the genius of RGA and their “Google wallet”, a tap payment system for smart phones, which looks a sure bet for a Titanium. You know our industry is changing at light speed when a digital payment system is in contention at Cannes. The “Hibernating bear” for Volkswagen (a winter promo that lasts until a live web-cammed hibernating bear wakes up) from DDB Oslo is a fabulous, wish-I’d-done-that digital promotion. In radio the beautifully simple “The absolute pitch” for the Hannover Academy of Music and Theatre is sure to seduce the jury. And so it goes on.

By the end of next week, whether you’re in Cannes or not, you will be inspired and excited by the world’s best work, which always makes the strip ad for direct-dial insurance you’re working on seem even more depressing. The technology revolution and the rise of digital as a channel have been like creative steroids for our industry. And keeping up with it all has become more important to our very survival than ever before.

CannesAs Hyper Island said last week, “Today is faster than yesterday, and tomorrow will be faster than today.”

So I’d better get going.

See you in Cannes.