Jotz of Gotz: Cannes Part 4

ChrisCannes David

Dinosaurs vs cyborgs. With chocolate mousse.

Good morning,

Well at least it is in Cannes. Twenty five and sunny with a cool breeze. I am told South Africa is being lashed by a series of cold fronts. I will hold a silent vigil for you all this morning on the beach, with the gentle waters of the Med lapping at my ankles as I sip delicious coffee from the coffee stand, watching the boats (ships?) of Russian oligarchs bobbing quietly in the bay.

Yesterday Mofilm (whoever they are) hosted a crowd sourcing seminar with Jesse Eisenberg as one of the guests on the panel. Jesse Eisenberg is apparently "very interested" in crowd sourcing, which gave a semblance of respectability to the otherwise completely gratuitous insertion of a celebrity into the presentation. Also on stage were 2 executives from General Motors, who were clearly the sponsors of this talk. The GM guys were also "very interested" in crowd sourcing. They had recently done some user-generated commercials which caused them to be tremendously pleased with themselves, as if this was the marketing equivalent of landing a man on Saturn. They then showed these commercials, all of them. Throughout this Jesse Eisenberg sat to one side, moping and gazing off into the middle distance, uncannily like his portrayal of Zuckerberg in the Social Network. It was weird, so I left. This ended up being a good thing because I managed to catch an Ogilvy Masterclass on what it takes to be a good account-management person. Graham Fink and Johnny Hornby were brilliant. They described a great suit as "a creative man who cannot draw or write copy, who pushes both the client and the agency to do new things". I have called accounts people many things in my time, but this is not one of them. They called a good suit a "ruthless editor", a "brilliant collaborator" and regarded truthfulness as being a prized quality. Jolly good stuff all round. Then I went to lunch.

This was no ordinary lunch. This was lunch hosted by Ogilvy for Coca Cola in a large chateau by the sea. First we listened to a talk by the Marketing Vice-President for Coke Latin America, Javier Sanchez Lamelas. Great, great client who truly understands what we do and why great partnerships deliver in spades. This stuck with me : "The essential difference between emotion and reason is that emotion (which he pointed out contains the word motion, to move) pushes us into making a decision, while reason allows us only to draw sterile conclusions". The Latin American Coke work has no long drinking shots, no "moments of extreme refreshment", just pure expressions of the optimism that Coke is really all about. Then we had lunch. As a copywriter I know that I am prone to moments of extreme exaggeration, but lunch definitely cracked my top-ten-all-time-best-lunches-ever-in-castles list. Anchovy and olive tart, roast chicory, rare roast beef, salad Nicois with quail’s eggs. Bloody perfect, and what a setting. I wouldn’t have been surprised if Zoro had come charging in on his black horse and slashed a big Z in the chocolate mousse. It was just that kind of day really.

So, last nights ceremony. Dinosaurs vs androids. The past vs the present.  Or print and cyber, for those of you getting increasingly confused by my obtuse metaphors. Oh, and design too, which was first up and presented some of the best work on show so far. Check out the Tamiya calendar, which is just genius and so "on brand" it’s ridiculous ( that is the first time I have ever used the words " on brand"). The Lightwall Reflections for BMW by Serviceplan Munich is simple and beautiful, almost enough to completely absolve them from calling their agency Serviceplan. And then the opening titles for The Off International Festival, created by The Mill in London, blew me off my feet. Although I  was sitting down, so that makes no sense really. Anyhow, check them out, singularly the most beautiful piece of anything at this year’s festival.

The Press Lions came next. I loved, loved, loved DDB Argentina’s Responsible Driving campaign. Grand Prix went to Samsonite suitcases "Heaven and Hell", which I must point out I predicted earlier in the week. I must admit press looked a bit inert in amongst all the wonderful design and cyber pieces. Probably because it is.

Cyber was just, well, cool. Also probably because it just is. Please go and look at all the Golds, there’s not a bad choice in there. The astounding Arcade Fire work was in there by Google Creative Labs. It’s been copied so much already, even at this years festival. The Google Chrome Browser work by BBH New York was Gold. And it will win again in TV. Finally, and totally and utterly predictably, Wieden and Kennedy’s response campaign for Old Spice won big. Check out the video, even if just to see the slam dunk social media results stuff at the end of the piece. It became the most watched viral piece of communication in history, ever, ever, ever.

I had to leave the cyber ceremony a bit early. I began to feel a bit Ill. I strongly suspect that the ultra-rich lunch, followed by half a kilo of chocolate mousse and rounded off with handfuls of Maltesers in the afternoon was my downfall. Although I would rather blame too much sun.

At Ogilvy we have run out of finalists now. So we wait for film : tic follows toc follows tic follows toc. My money’s on Ogilvy Joburg and their POWA film, but I don’t want to jinx it.

I am no longer disappointed. Just inspired. They say the work will set you free

And it has.

Just wish some of it was mine.

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Jotz from Gotz: Part 3

ChrisButch-Cassidy-And-The-Sundance-Kid-Shooting

Three drunk Colombians and the Sundance Kid

Yesterday began with three drunk Colombians. At Cannes it is not unusual to encounter incredibly drunk people at all times of the day. They were in the queue at a coffee stand at 9am. I bought a coffee. They bought three ice cold Carlsbergs. Then they went tearing off after an athletic looking jogger, running theatrically behind him shouting hysterically in Spanish. Poor guy.

Yesterday, of course, was Robert Redford day. He came to talk to us about storytelling, something he knows a bit about. Unfortunately the interviewer was a blow-waved slightly younger looking extremely-pleased-with-himself version of Alec Baldwin. Thanks goodness this did not stop Robert Redford from being funny and inspiring and wise. It also served up the unintentional bonus of Robert Redford (who is incredibly suave and dry) occasionally making fun of blow-wave Alec Baldwin guy.

Alec Baldwin blow-wave guy : What keeps you going ? What drives you?

Robert Redford (deadpan): Sex.

He said some other really great stuff too. He talked about being the Sundance kid opposite Paul Newman. He talked about the Sundance Festival and how it almost single-handedly saved independent film in the States (ok him and the Weinstein’s).

Other things Robert Redford said which were cool :

"the only thing that ever leads to success is change"

"nobody ever votes for a new idea, you have to grind it out and force it through yourself"

"always look in the other corner" (which Freud said, but then there is something totally cool about watching Redford quote Freud on a stage at Cannes in front of mostly bemused ad folk (and blow-wave guy who by now had realized that Robert Redford was taking the piss a bit).

Another thing Robert Redford said was "beware of success, it has a very dark side ".

This is not something I have to worry about too much this week as success is proving a bit elusive. Ogilvy Cape Town are 10 shortlisted pieces down without a win now. If I wasn’t such a good guy I would be outside the Gutter bar at 2am coming up with conspiracy theories ( ok, I was). Other people are winning, which is lovely ( cue forced and distinctly ungenerous smile).

At last night’s ceremony South Africa won big. Network BBDO did not so much fly the flag high as wrap themselves up in it while doing backward flick- flacks singing shosholoza. They got a Grand Prix for radio (for Mercedes accident avoidance systems) plus another gold and 2 silvers. Boom. There was a smattering of other stuff too. Huge audience favourite was the LoweBull CT piece for the Cape Times Employment section.

Other stuff to look out for.

The outdoor piece for The Missing Children’s Initiative from Kempertrautmann Hamburg.

The totally brilliant media gold for Irn Bru by PHD London.

The June 16 campaign for Tunisia by Tunisia Memac.

In outdoor the Samsonite Suitcases ad by JWT is brilliant, and it will be a multiple winner this week.

There was a Guerrilla demobilization campaign by Lowe Bogota which deserves to be looked at just because they used 2 Blackhawk Choppers in an outdoor piece.

My favorite outdoor piece last night was the Lego campaign by Leo Burnett Moscow, maybe just because I have small boys at home (sons not concubines).

Finally the Decode JayZ stuff by Droga 5 New York is totally and utterly brilliant. Look at it, if you haven’t already seen it.

I saw a few Ted Talks yesterday. Yes, they are here as well. In true Ted style the standout talk of the week so far ( sorry Robert Redford) was not about being connected but about being disconnected. An unassuming, shy, man ( don’t remember name) talked about how the over-connectedness of our world is killing our attention spans and completely ruining our ability to think clearly and intensely and for extended periods about the problems we face every day.

He suggested (and this is especially relevant for us ) long periods of "disconnected" time that will allow us to sit, totally without distraction, in groups or alone, and talk, think and solve – just like we did in the old days. He called it "pure time".

It sounds simple. Yet we never do it.

We should probably start. Right after I check my phone for messages.

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Jotz of Gotz: Cannes Part 2

ChrisCanned Lion

Our Man in Cannes: Musings from Ogilvy Cape Town’s ECD Chris Gotz

Monday morning.

I was late for Malcolm Gladwell, which meant the auditorium was full when I arrived. So, instead I got to see Malcolm Gladwell in the second-prize-for-people-who-are-late auditorium. Malcolm appeared on a 20 m high HD screen and he did not look good. HD is destined to die as a format if famous people ever discover how awful they look in their unadorned, ultra-close-up glory.

Malcolm spoke about the importance of being not first, but third. This of course interests me because we come 3rd in Ad of the Month all the time. Anyhow, turns out that he was talking about how the people who come up with stuff first are hardly ever the ones who really get the rewards. I feel a new book coming on, Malcolm.

Of course, the real story of day 1 was the horde of Shortlists that came out this morning and then the awards ceremony tonight. Yeeehaaa for Ogilvy Joburg who picked up a Bronze Lion in the Promo Awards for POWA. Other SA winners were Joe Public for their Rock 4 Aids work (Silver). I ended up sitting next to the Exec CD of Ogilvy North America. Always wary of someone with an entire continent in their job title, I tried my best to come across as a terribly fascinating person. Not sure if it worked.

South Africa once again dominated the radio category with nearly a quarter of the Shortlists. I’m not sure if that means we are really good at radio or that no-one else is interested. Radio, Outdoor and Media Lions ceremony is tomorrow night. Hopefully we convert a few more Shortlists.

I have just returned from a lavish dinner (3 largish prawns with rice = price of small second-hand car) with the members of the print jury. The invitation came courtesy of my friend Karin who was the SA print judge. Ended up sitting next to the Exec CD of Almap BBDO Sao Paulo, which, for those of you who’ve been locked in a cupboard for the last 5 years, is widely regarded as the best agency on the planet. For the second time in a day I found myself having to come across as incredibly fascinating. It’s getting a bit much.

So, work that stood out today.

Have a look at the Coke "Friendship machine" by our very own Ogilvy Argentina(who were crowned Direct agency of the year). It’s a wonderful piece. Also check out "Spread the Tedx" by Ogilvy Sao Paulo. Then there was 4th Amendment wear which was very smart and quite iwishihaddonethat-ish. Personally I thought the 2 Grand Prix that were given out to the Romanian chocolate bar were really bad choices. Go and have a look for yourselves, maybe you’ll see something I didn’t.

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Jotz of Gotz: Cannes Part 1

ChrisCannes Beachfront

Our Man in Cannes: Musings from Ogilvy Cape Town’s ECD Chris Gotz

Hello. I am in Cannes.

I know this because the men are mostly burnt orange with large gold watches and wearing boat shoes. The women wear flowy-silky expensive-looking kaftans, as if they may be called upon to board a luxury cruise liner at a moment’s notice.There are other people too. They are all much younger with lots of facial hair and seem to be competing in a vast and interconnected game of "my t-shirt is cooler than yours". These are the ad people, who have come from far and wide to this, the first, annual, "Festival of global creativity". This appears to be a feeble and badly disguised attempt by the organizers of the Cannes Advertising Festival to reinvent themselves as a more relevant and globally-impactful event. It seems to have worked. Just a glance at this year’s seminar program will tell you that. Malcom Gladwell is here. Edward de Bono too. Robert Redford is going to talk about storytelling. Jesse Eisenberg is here to talk about social media, not sure why, maybe they think he’s Zuckerberg. Patti Smith and Will.I.am are going to talk about music. Aaron Sorkin is going to talk about writing for TV. Eric Schmidt is going to talk about himself, a lot. And why shouldn’t he.

Cannes is packed to the rafters with celebs. Maybe they just rounded up everyone who was still here after the bloody film festival and gave them a topic and told them to wing it, who knows. Anyhow, all will be revealed soon.

As I write this juries of wise, discriminating and occasionally bitter creatives are sitting in judgement of the world’s best work. Already the Direct and Promo and Activation Shortlists are out. Ogilvy Joburg features twice for the brilliant POWA film. Ogilvy Cape Town once for VW Polo "Sell your car". So we are on the scoreboard folks. Tomorrow we see another flood of Shortlists released, so here’s hoping for more success. I will keep you posted. Although I am sure all the studio folks will be online and tallying up Shortlists long before I give you the lowdown. Anyhow, some very drunk Swedish people are singing loudly below my window, which is making it hard to concentrate. At least, it sounds like Swedish. Unless they are just really, really, really drunk English people. Will let you know tomorrow.

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New York, New York!

IMG_1967-e1306400472944Dedicated to the job, creative director Tania Barker and group account director, Carol Jeffrey, recently travelled to New York to contribute to the production of a global advert. Originally intended for American audiences, the South African version will be flighted here next year.

Along with a very successful result, we also suspect some shopping may have occurred along the way…