Well, this is my final Mannes in Cannes. Reason being, I am not even in Cannes anymore. So this is more “Man in Dubai International Airport on Dodgy Wifi Eating BLT” which has a lovely ring to it you must admit.
To be honest the last few days have been of a mind copulation. Beginning with a lovely, air-conditioned viewing of the outstanding TV Shortlist on Friday. And what a great Shortlist it was, viewed with the bare minimum of low whistles (the Cannes version of the boo, don’t ask me why). This was accompanied by the news that Ogilvy Cape Town had one last Shortlist, in Branded Content and Entertainment, for our Carling Black Label “Be the coach” work. So we were to be in the game for the final ceremony at Cannes, the grand finale of the week.
Also on Friday was the long awaited on-stage chit-chat between Dan Wieden and John Hegarty. Together, as founders of fiercely independent agencies Wieden and Kennedy and BBH, they have given the world some of the most recognizable and best loved work of the past 2 decades, for brands such as Levi’s, Nike, Honda and, more recently, The Guardian. This was barbed, slick, funny and wise banter the likes of which you don’t see often. It was easy to see why these guys have set the pace for advertising excellence for a while now.
Friday night was South African party night. Very cool to see the flag flying over the Croisette. The general feeling was that we had done jolly well ( at that stage 25 Lions for the week) but our paltry 4 film Shortlists was like totally not cool hey bru, we need to make like Avis and try harder. It was good to get together with some local seuntjies after a hectic week of talking in broken English to full bearded Swedish web designers and trying to evade aggressive New York production people.
Saturday, for me, began on the beach, with a vroeg in die more swim in the Med.
As I towelled myself off, my phone buzzed excitedly next to me. It was 10.35. As a shortlisted agency at Cannes you generally spend the day of the ceremony in a state of angsty anticipation in case you get “the call” from the festival organizers, who will tell you that you have won gold. Generally this does not happen and the prickly anticipation fades rapidly after 10.30, to be replaced by a bleak disappointment, which is in turn replaced later in the day by a fresh, although slightly muted, optimism that you may have won silver or bronze.
The message, from my wonderful and tremendously on the ball awards manager back home in SA, said simply “We got gold”".
Anyone who was on the Ville de Cannes beach that day would have observed a man in black swimming trunks get up off his lounger and air punch repeatedly. This was directly followed by a curious hopping dance on the water’s edge. The rest of the day was spent in a trance-like state of serendipity, punctuated by vigorous bromantic hugging of fellow Ogilvy SA people.
So for the very first time I did not have to queue with thousands of sweaty delegates in the sun for 2 hours before the Film ceremony. Tommy Le Roux and I were shown to our seats at the front of the auditorium. Directly in front of us was Ted Royer, Chief Creative Officer of Droga 5, who was receiving txts throughout the ceremony from the man himself, Dave Droga. We know this because we read them over his shoulder. Towards the end of the evening our big moment arrived and we shuffled happily across the stage to collect our Gold Lion from the Jury Chair. It all happened very fast, a bit like a car accident, only a good one, if that makes any sense.
Film Grand Prix went to goody-goody fast food outlet Chipotle “Back to the start”, which I liked a lot. That piece also got the Branded content and entertainment Grand Prix for the work done around it in the Cultivate program. The Gold’s were all good on the night. There are too many to list, and this blog post is very late, mostly due to the aliens’ interfering with our server capacity (at least that’s what the IT guy says). But please have a look at them (Click here), they are a huge part of what was, for me anyway, the best work I have seen at Cannes for years. It’s been lovely jabbering away like this all week. It would be great to do it again this year. It would be even better to do it while my agency clocks up another 7 Lions, although that would be overly optimistic.
I will see you all back in SA after my 26 hour flight odyssey. I dearly hope I do not have to sit next to a full-bearded Swedish web designer or a hustling New York animatic production agent.
I have had enough of that for one year. And I really don’t want to have to share my Xtra large bag of duty free Maltesers with anyone.
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