Mannes in Cannes #WINNING

Chris Gotzphoto (6)

Life sometimes pivots dramatically on a single phone call. Sometimes it’s bad news, and it changes everything. And sometimes, perhaps less frequently, it’s something so lovely and amazing you’ll never forget it.

Wonderman T-ShirtsYesterday morning I was watching an early seminar in the Wunderman Beach Cabana. For those who don’t know, Wunderman is Y&R’s Direct company. The Wunderman Cabana a marvelous place where people who are too lazy too queue for ages to see Jared Leto speaking at the festival in real life, can relax on fake white leather couches and watch him on a large screen. They do this while drinking free Wunderman coffee, eating Wunderman almond croissants and drinking Wunderman San Pellegrino. When you leave you can take as many free Wunderman t-shirts as you like (which is awesome because they don’t have “Wunderman” blazed across the front, just cool designs).

So there I was watching Jared Leto, who was bloody magnificent. Of course he has won an Oscar, plays in a really successful rock band and has started up a few very successful digital businesses, so he’s basically the ultimate polymath. He could get together with Stephen Fry and rule the earth. He told us to “make my life interesting, tell me the truth or fucking leave me alone.” Exactly.

Jared Leto SelfieJared Leto was busy asking some young ladies up on stage for a starstruck selfie when my phone rang. It was my marginally overweight friend Damon Stapleton (The Zimbabwean guy). “Congrats buddy, Lucozade won the Grand Prix for radio.”

And so the day changed.

We had, of course, opened our account the evening before at the Outdoor Lions Ceremony.

Two Lions are coming home with us for our Volkswagen work.

There was some remarkable stuff on show.

Check out the Adidas D-Rose Jump Store from TBWA London for D-Rose shoes. Probably the best pop up store anyone will ever do, ever, ever. Astonishing.

The Dallas “Gas Station” for entertainment channel TNT was about as good an activation as you will ever see.

Grand Prix went to GAYTM out of TBWA Melbourne. If you want to see how to win a Cannes Grand Prix for a bank on a tiny budget, then check it out.

Mobile was on the same night. If there is one message being hammered home by all and sundry (apart from all the idiot-philosophy about “stories”) it’s that mobile is soon going to be the only game in town.

There was some really great work. “Pay per laugh” for Teatre Neu from McCann Barcelona was a brilliant use of smile recognition technology. “One minute of silence” for Anzac Appeal by DDB Melbourne brought the house down. The Mobile Grand Prix went to the Nivea’s phemomenal wrist band for Nivea Kids from FCB Sao Paulo.

The Media Lions gave us the world’s first all Lego ad break from PHD London for the Lego movie, one of my favourite pieces of the festival, being a father of 2 Lego obsessed little boys. Grand Prix went to a lovely little idea for Coke called Happy ID.

All of which takes us back to the Wunderman beach cabana and that phone call. The first thing to do was call the lovely Mariana O’Kelly, my colleague who, along with Neo Mashigo, has put her heart and soul into the creative rejuvenation of Ogilvy Johannesburg for the past year.

Leaving Mariana in a sobbing, happy heap on her hotel room floor, I grabbed a few free Wunderman t-shirts and headed out into the Cannes sun, which for all the world looked like it was shining happily out of my bottom.

Several blurry expeditions to buy t-shirts (Paul Smith ) and dresses (not for me for Mariana) later we found ourselves seated in the winners section for the evening’s award’s show.

Mariana had brought her 6 year old twins along, and her long-suffering advertising husband. She figured that if they had to endure a year of days and nights with their mama at the office making nice ads, they can be on the glory side of the experience too. It was a magnificent idea, although the presence of small children in the Palais was bewildering for some to say the least.

First up was Design, which for some reason always serves up a stunning display of pure and unadulterated beauty. The Japanese own Design like they own waving gold cats. The flat out fabulous sticky outy piece of the night was “Mother Book” for the Kishokai Medical Corporation from Dentsu. For something that you’ll wish South Africa had done first have a look at the “Paper Prison” for the Mandela Poster Project from Interbrand New York.

The Grand Prix for Press went to the wonderful “I spent it on myself” work for Harvey Nichols. It’s not often that work that’s part of a bigger (and really great) integrated campaign gets the big Lion. So, hats off to the Press Jury for being brave and pushing it through. Another standout Press Gold was the work for Rothammer Beer from Prolam Y&R Santiago, incredible photography, great idea, unique execution. Wish I’d done it (See images below just click to zoom).
Rothammer  PUNKS Rothammer BIKERS Rothammer DUCK HUNTERS
Cyber was up next. There are more Grand Prix in Cyber than any other category, mainly because of the diversity of work you’ll find there. This year there were 3.

First went to the “24 Hours of happy” for Pharrel Williams from Iconoclast Paris. Number 2 went to “The Scarecrow” for Chipotle – another genius use of animation coupled with a great interactive experience. This is next level stuff folks, watch and learn.

Volvo Trucks “Live Test Series” was the last digital Grand Prix. Enya boomed out across the Palais as the audience roared, Van Damme was in the house again, if only on the screen. Watch all of them. Be jealous.

And finally on to radio, by which time we were squirming in our seats enduring a delicate cocktail of anxiety and excitement.

There was loads to cheer about for South Africa, as we made up for our verlep performance earlier in the week.

The Bronzes, Silvers and the Golds all featured SA work.

There is always a fear, when you’re about to get up onstage at Cannes, that the reaction to the work from the hyper picky ad crowd is going to be tepid – that your big moment will be flattened out by a collective meh.

They played the work. We shifted our bottom to the edge of our red velvet seats.

I was sitting next to Ted Royer, ECD of Droga NYC. Ted roared with laughter. The audience erupted, they loved the spots and we walked up onto stage amidst whooping and cheers.

Mariana’s twins toddled up the stairs accepted the Grand Prix (and refused to let it go for some hours afterwards) and that pretty much brought the house down.

It was a big moment. It was the moment one of South Africa’s greatest agencies climbed up off the canvass and put on the big gold championship belt again.

Those 2 little boys holding up that Radio Grand Prix will be one of the great moments of this year’s festival, but very few people here know just how important it was to 500 or so people slogging away in Joburg.

Long may it last. It could not have happened to finer and more deserving bunch of people.
Ogilvy Johannesburg Radio Grand Prix

Mannes In Cannes: We give you flying cars. And crappy wifi.

Mannes in CannesWe are in full swing here on the Riviera now. Last night I bought a round of drinks that cost the same as a decent set of garden furniture, and I really need new garden furniture. Still, the post awards show analysis and bitching (and moaning about the South Americans) is such a vital part of Cannes. The first Grand Prix (I have no idea what the plural of Grand Prix is, I suspect it may be Grand Prix, if not, my apologies) of the week were collected last night.

After that the real show began with the Dutch Young Creatives party, or Jongehonden as it’s better known.

This is a terrifying blitzkrieg of techno, beer and spittle policed by a horde of young, tall, raucous, uninhibited and extremely drunk Dutch creative people. Some of my young creatives nursed themselves delicately through the door at 5am. They had video footage of this event. It looked for all the world like a Marine platoon pinned down in a fairly heavy and explosive firefight in Basra.

Way before all that there were a few seminars worth attending, at least that’s what it looked like.

SapientNitro SEMINAR Spike Jonze (Getty)Spike Jonze, the famous, famous director (did I mention he was famous) sat on stage talking to the not-famous-at-all CCO of Sapient Nitro, I have no idea what his name was.

Thing is, the not-so-famous Sapient Nitro guy was pretty keen for us to all know that he was hanging here in Cannes with his bro Spike, just shooting the breeze, chatting about John Malkovitch and stuff. He talked a lot. The really, really famous Spike Jones seemed somewhat bemused and really didn’t say that much at all.

Spike did mention a few commercials he “kind of liked” like “the one with all the balls that bounce down the steps” which was obviously Spike’s way of letting us know he was totally down with this advertising thing.

The discussion had all the flow of half dry cement.

We left while not-famous-at-all Sapient Nitro guy was expounding on his theory of “disruption” (which used to be TBWA’s theory but he must have got a good deal on it from Jean Marie Dru).

The organisers of the Festival need to watch that the seminars don’t become an endless array of celebrities who look vaguely uncomfortable with being there as their interviewer desperately tries to cling to a pompous sounding “theme”.

Themes are crap. Themes are for 21st birthday parties and shitty launches for fruit flavoured alcoholic drinks.

Just don’t.

Today Google rolled out their Chief Business Officer, Nikesh Arora, to tell us all how Google will be reorganizing and improving the planet for us. “It’s difficult to realize you’re in a revolution when you’re in the midst of it.” he told us. Google is, of course, manning the barricades of this revolution. It was spellbinding stuff.

“Aspire to serve the world.” he urged us, before promptly telling us just how quickly things are going to change. He left us in no doubt that mobile tech is going to be the only game in town. The film he showed of an Indian man finding his long-lost family through Google Earth and Streetview is breathtaking (see below)

He finished by talking about sending balloons up into the stratosphere to cast a wifi shadow over the entire earth, a project appropriately named “Loon”. Google is definitely going to win the internets.

Last night was the first of big ceremony of the week (the Health Lions were earlier in the week, but no-one really counts those, except the people who won Health Lions).

First up was Promo and Activation or “Brazilian ambient” as it is otherwise known. There was some cracking work. My pick for a Grand Prix or two, Sound of Honda, grabbed a Gold or 3. The biggest cheer of the night went to the Social Swipe – the world’s first poster that accepted credit cards. The Grand Prix went to the fabulous Harvey Nichols campaign “Sorry, I spent it on myself.” I suspect we may see a bit more of that one as the week goes by, it seems a real favourite.

There were a few good pieces in PR. “Sweetie” – the campaign to trap online sex offenders, picked up a PR Gold, plus 4 more. Watch it for an incredible example of how tech and creativity can get together and produce show-stopping work.

Some of the Direct work was outstanding too.

If you’re in the mood for some footie themed creativity (and who isn’t right now) then check out the brilliant work for Fifa14 out of Wunderman in Bogota. I was also a huge, huge fan of “Inglorious food.” for supermarket brand Intermarche by Marcel Paris.

And finally have a look at “Vroom, ring, boom.” a simply brilliant direct idea for Cellular brand Claro from Ogilvy Guatemala. Could easily have been the Grand Prix.

The Grand Prix, when it was hauled out, went to the one-of-a-kind brilliant BA billboard from Ogilvy London, also a multiple Gold winner on the night.

The themes are starting to take shape here, but themes are crap, so other people can try and box them for you somewhere else on the internet.

Lots of people are talking sagely about “storytelling” as if it’s the new Theory of Relativity. This masterful repackaging of the bleeding obvious as a mind-blowing new beachhead in creativity isn’t surprising.

This is advertising after all.

Mannes In Cannes: A world famous Belgian

Chris Gotz study-abroad-amsterdam-netherlands-art
I see tall people. I must still be in Holland. Yes, I see some cheese and a canal, and a bicycle, so Holland it is then.
As it turns out, I am not yet in Cannes, having been waylaid by a weekend break in the Dam.
Other people are in Cannes though. I know because I have seen their lunch on Facebook and Instagram, a Salad Nicoise shot with a carefully placed bottle of rose.
Holland is a marvellous place, full of incredibly tall and friendly people, seemingly unconcerned about their inexplicable ability to field even a remotely competitive basketball team. Of source they did field a pretty good football team a few days ago and they were jolly happy about that. I’ve never seen a whole city drunk before, all these tall blonde people tottering around resplendent in Orange rolling their vowels with extra delight.

In Cannes, as in the World Cup, the Brazilians expect to win. And they will, although the real hero of Cannes this year is likely to be a Belgian. Mr Jean Claude Van Damme will perform an Epic Split that spans all categories before reaching down and plucking up the film Grand Prix at the end of the week.

The Volvo Trucks piece is already coming up in the Direct and Promo Shortlists, as are all the other usual suspects : The sound of Honda from Dentsu, Sweetie – the astonishing Dutch piece designed to trap online porn offenders and the Harvey Nichols “Sorry, I spent it on myself” campaign to name a few. I know this because I saw it online yesterday while I was walking around Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum, clocking three hundred years worth of gloomy looking men in ruffled collars and multiple flat and well-windmilled landscapes bathed in the famous “Dutch light”.

By the way, Belgium, Mr Van Dammes home country, are a good to moderate outside bet for the World Cup. Although Belgium winning the World Cup would be a bit like an agency from Swaziland winning the Film Grand Prix.
DavidI missed David Hasselhof yesterday who took the stage in the first seminar to talk about, well, David Hasselhof I suppose. I wonder what it’s like being a live meme? Never mind, I can ask Jean Claude Van Damme, who is sure to come on stage and do the splits on the heads of two attractive promo girls while he accepts the film Grand Prix for the people at Forsman Bodenfors, who by then will be in a rose induced catatonic stupor after winning everything all week.

The South African work is still a light sprinkle as far as Shortlists are concerned. Expect that to change today as a whole bunch of Shortlists come striding confidently in their Velskoens into the  Palais.
The weather in Cannes is not playing ball at all. This will not make a difference to the many, many people who decide to give most of the festival a miss and watch the World Cup in Morrison’s. It will bother the people who have decided to give most of the festival a miss and spend their time on the beach though. It may mean actually going to seminars and looking at some work, although. as we know, most ECD’s know pretty much everything anyway.
The weather looks to be grubby all week, unless a magnanimous Russian billionaire decides to usher the clouds away with a squadron of well-placed helicopters.
I am now on a KLM flight which will be slicing across France and depositing me in Nice. From there it’s a short bus ride to Cannes, unless I decide to take a helicopter, although they might be busy chasing away the clouds from Roman Abromovitch’s yacht. Also – a chit for a helicopter shuttle might upset the chaps with sharp pencils who refer to people as “resource” and are even now finding evil ways to dent our awards budgets.
So a bus it will be, and then on to my inexpensive and spartan apartment (take note sharp pencil men) where I will dine on fig LU biscuits and get this post up on the interwebs before my CEO can say “he’s supposed to be in Cannes, what the bloody hell is he doing in Amsterdam?!?”.

Sent from my iPhone

The Official Unofficial Cannes Predictions 2014.

Cannes Lions 2014

The film festival is over. The porn film festival is over. Which means the beleaguered residents of Cannes can get ready for the ad festival.

Surely the ad festival should come before the porn festival ? Pun intended.

I wonder if the ECD’s of the world’s best agencies realise that they are unpacking their Tumi luggage in a room previously occupied by people who fling around body fluids with the abandon of, well, porn stars at a convention.

David Hasselhof, who strangely enough has never been filmed having sex, will open this year’s festival. He will be the first in a long line of seemingly irrelevant celebrities lending their name to client and agency sponsored seminars.

The Hof will be talking about “Remaining relevant”, which is something he is clearly struggling to do considering he’s now speaking at a weird French ad festival.

OK, here we go, the one, the only, Official Unofficial Cannes Predictions for 2014.

1/ 2014 is a World Cup Year. This means, despite spending thousands of agency euro’s travelling halfway across the earth, most ECD’s won’t attend Cannes. They will instead watch football in Morrison’s, the Irish bar opposite the Palais du Festivals. They will, however, occasionally toddle across the road to the Palais and wander around the Shortlist exhibitions, but only so they can tell people at half time how “crap the work is this year”.

2/ Those people not interested in the Football World Cup (The 3 female ECD’s in the world, conscientious Japanese ad people) will be able to watch some cracking talks. Aaron Sorkin, the best TV writer of all time, will chat about storytelling. Jeffrey Katzenberg, the Dreamworks guy, will be hosted by Youtube in their seminar. Sarah Jessica Parker will talk in a ditzy, nasal, Californian accent about “Fashion, Sex and Celebrity”. Sheryl Sandberg of Facebook will make us all feel dumb and like we haven’t achieved nearly enough and make us all lean slightly forward for the rest of the week.

3/ The best work will, very early in the week, begin to win everything. “The sound of Honda”, the magnificent, haunting audio recreation of Ayrton Senna’s record breaking lap in the 1989 Grand Prix at Suzuka, will be the big winner for the first half of the week. I see no reason why it won’t win Grand Prix in Outdoor, Direct, Promo and Activation and maybe even PR. The rest of the week will see the equally brilliant “Epic Splits” work for Volvo Trucks, featuring Jean Claude Van Damme, winning everything in sight. It will win the Film Grand Prix going away, probably Cyber too. I predict confidently that the 2014 Cannes Lions Festival will end with Jean Claude himself holding the Film Grand Prix aloft in the Palais. You read it here.

4/ Most people will take Thursday off. This is because Thursday is officially designated “Brazil Day” at the Festival. The program appears to consist largely of Brazilians talking about themselves and how wonderful they are. This is of course exactly what Brazilians do all the time, so nothing to see there then.

5/ This year’s hotly contested new category, the “Innovation Lions”, will be wildly celebrated. This new category is for agencies who actually manage to “make something”, like, a product or a gizmo or an App or a print ad that turns into a library and solves illiteracy in Africa. Quite why we need this category is beyond me, considering that right now agencies are struggling to make the stuff they’re actually meant to make – commercials, money – stuff like that.

6/ Your ECD will return from Cannes bleary-eyed with stories he gathered from buddies of his who were on the juries. The general gist will be “we got fucked over” by the Brazilian/Ukranian/Austrailan/UK judge.

You will ask him questions about some of the talks, the standard answer will be that he “didn’t go to that one”. He may also remark that Cannes is “actually quite hard work” because there are “lots of meetings and clients and global stuff” happening. This statement is made despite the evidence of photos on Facebook of him photobombing Droga at the Gutter bar, getting drunk during the day on a boat with Swedish people, and eating large platters of seafood with recruiters from Dubai. He will then say something about how it would be great “to send more people next year”. This will never ever happen.

So there we have it. You hardly have to go do you ? Cannes can come to you, especially if you hop straight from these predictions to the regular, soon-to-be-published sardonic updates from our “Mannes in Cannes.”

Best of luck to all the SA contenders this year, I hope we surprise ourselves again and do OK. I’m afraid the notion that South Africa “punches above its weight” at Cannes is just not true anymore. It’s become very, very difficult to win, despite the categories multiplying faster than Viagra crazed rabbits.

Votre mère sent baies de sureau.

Au revoir.

Mannes in Cannes: Rosé and Rumours

Cannes Lions

Words by Monsieur Chris Gotz

Occasionally the week in Cannes offers up little unexpected moments of pleasure. A spin in a pistachio Lamborghini, a drink at the Martinez with Roger Moore, sunbathing on the deck of Paul Allen’s yacht or dinner with Brad and Angelina at Tétou, a restaurant in Antibes, where the lobster will set you back 200 Euros. None of these things happened to me, not even close.Colombe d' Or However I did go to the famous Colombe d’ Or, in the small hilltop town of Saint-Paul de Vence. The restaurant is famous not for its food, but its art collection. The walls are adorned with Miró, Picassos, a Matisse or 2 and many more. A beautiful Calder sculpture looms over the pool. It’s a bit like eating a rack of lamb in one of the courtyards of the Louvre, just without the Japanese tourists and large groups of pensioners from Wisconsin hanging around.

In the taxi on the way home one of my colleagues received a text on his phone. Someone, somewhere had heard someone else say that, possibly, they had heard a mention that one of the judges in Branded Content and Entertainment had told someone, who had told somebody else, that we might get a Lion. This was possibly, maybe, perhaps good news. Cannes is fuelled by Rosé and rumours. Many hopes have foundered on the faint fumes of hope wafting up from the judging rooms in the basement of the Palais. And so began the most anxious 15 hours of the Festival.

My colleague Nicholas Wittenberg wore a yarmulke for much of the following morning. He is not a devout man, but, like Yahoo, we needed all the help we could get. I just watched my phone, which remained as silent and insolent as a French waiter. Finally the call came, and the news that our last chance saloon finalists had both won Lions, and one of them was Gold. Cue Tiger Woods fist pumps and neck hugs and shouty calls to the people who actually did the work in Cape Town. The rest of the day passed in a blissful fug of tense elation.

The best thing about winning Gold on the last night is that you don’t have to queue to get in. You just waltz in through a side entrance like Patricia de Lille at the Baxter Theatre.The last night at Cannes is the Film, Film Craft, Branded Content and Entertainment and Integrated ceremony.

First up was Film Craft. If you watch anything from the Festival this year, watch the Craft Grand Prix – the “Superhumans” spot for the Paralympics by Channel 4, for Channel 4. It is nothing short of a masterpiece. For the first time in my 6 years of going to Cannes there was a standing ovation for a piece of work, and the film truly deserved it.

The Film Lions were up next. Lots of expected contenders in the mix there. The brilliant Southern Comfort ad “Whatever’s Comfortable” out of Wieden and Kennedy got big cheers. If you want to watch a brilliant insight based idea then look at the “Camera Shy” Dove film from Ogilvy London that won Gold. The Grand Prix went to 2 films, Sir John Hegarty making the point that the film Jury felt the need to reward both long and short form films.

Dumb Ways to Die picked up an unprecedented 4th Grand Prix, this time for Film, probably well deserved for a commercial that has been seen by 500 million online, made the charts in 10 countries and got played for free by most commercial broadcasters. It is probably the “stickiest” advertising work for many a year. Pereira & O ‘Dell San Francisco won a Grand Prix (a second one this week) for the totally brilliant film “The beauty inside” which featured Hollywood semi-star Topher Grace (who was there to pick up the award with the agency).Take a look at it, it involves the audience in a way no other content piece has ever done before.

It will be one of the great Film reels this year, so I would look at as much of the work online as I could if I were you. They’ll take it all down in a month or so.

In Branded Content and Entertainment the wonderful IBM “World’s Smallest Film” from Ogilvy New York finally picked up Gold after flirting with Silver and Bronze all week. Well deserved, considering they moved atoms around and magnified them 100 million times just so we could Cannes Goldsee the piece. Check out the “Deforested field” from Grey 141 in Sao Paulo for the WWF for a smart live programming intervention. The Grand Prix went, once again to “The beauty inside” for Intel. Somewhere amongst all of those we skipped onto stage to collect our Gold Lion. It was kind of cool to remind ourselves later that we had the rare privilege of winning a Gold Lion with Dan Wieden, Sir John Hegarty, George Lois, Lee Clow and David Droga in the audience. Hope they liked the work.

Integrated and Titanium Jury President Dan Wieden handed out the Lions in this category. He must be one of the wisest, most lovely men in all of advertising and his stories have beguiled us for decades. The Samsung “Bridge of Life” by Cheil Worldwide was the pick of the bunch. The Grand Prix for Integrated went, predictably and well deservedly, to Dumb Ways to Die, which, thumbing its nose at the notion of a history making 4th Grand Prix, went on and claimed a 5th just for good measure. I would love to be a fly on the wall in that office on Tuesday when they all get back to work. What now guys? Perhaps just do some strip ads for a boring investment services client just to get your feet back on the ground.

The Titanium Grand Prix is the Grand Finale of Cannes, and it went to, for me, the standout piece of work at the festival. No, not Dumb Ways to Die, rather the Dove “Real Beauty Sketches” from Ogilvy Brazil. In a wonderful touch, the women who were sketched in the piece were flown over to collect the Grand Prix. It brought the house down, and there was an unprecedented second standing ovation of the night. All that was left after that was for Ogilvy Brazil to collect the overall agency of the Year, probably by a country mile after winning 35 Lions.

Now, finally, on to Nice airport, a Gold Lion heavier than when we arrived, which is a most pleasing way to leave the South of France in June. It’s been a good year for “the work” I think.

You could certainly feel the velocity of the changes hitting the industry very strongly in Cannes this year. They are changes that will not be solved by the repeated use of the word” content” and “platform”, nor will they be met with the overblown promises of “big data” or the platoons of people who now call themselves “social media strategists”. We may live in the golden age of bullshit, but we also live in the golden age of opportunity. The challenges and great changes that face our industry will be overcome by the same thing that always saves our bacon : brilliant creative work.

As George Lois said, “We aren’t in the technology business we are in the fu*king creativity business”.

Well said George.

Sent from my iPad

George Lois

Mannes in Cannes: Hope & The Electric Recorder

SAATCHI&SAATCHI seminar (10)

Words by Monsieur Chris Gotz

I am the Guinness Surfer. I am waiting. Tic toc. Although there are no white horses charging through the waves above me, and I am not a good looking salty blonde surfer dude, and I am staying in a hotel near the sea, not actually in the sea, but I am still waiting. The Film, Integrated and Branded Entertainment Shortlist comes out in an hour. In Cannes this is the last chance saloon, but it is also the big game, the show, the fat lady finally getting her aria.

Yesterday began with the Young Director’s Showcase, a selection of the world’s best young directors walking down the ramp and flashing a bit of side boob for the cameras (I am aware that’s a sexist analogy please feel free to substitute side boob for the male equivalent of side boob, although that’s probably plumber’s crack, so you can see why I went with side boob). It began with Richard Dawkins, the world’s most famous Godless man, reading a pompous tract about God knows what (although in this case God does not exist, of course) – apparently it was all about memes, who knew? Mr Dawkins was then replaced by a bit of 80’s and 90’s style geometric animation which looked like it had been borrowed from Peter Gabriel’s Sledgehammer video from 20 years ago. To this was added 3D mapping, the technology so loved by car launches and events companies desperate to hide their lack of an idea with spectacular lighting effects. SAATCHI&SAATCHI seminar Professor Dawkins(22)This ended with Richard Dawkins entering stage left and playing an electric recorder for a few minutes. It was over fairly quickly, thank God (or not in this case, depending on whether you believe in him).What followed was a lovely collection of incredible work from directors around the world. The selection is always a bit wtf and challenging to watch, but it was one of the highlights of Cannes this year.

The stand out piece for me was the Ben Liam Jones directed film for Childline, a masterpiece of gritty reality and sadness. Check out Gevorg Karensky’s live action version of Grand Theft Auto for go-pro gone bonkers. And Nabil’s new music video for Anthony and the Johnsons “Cut the world” is a masterpiece, although I wouldn’t show it to your wife if you’re going through a bad patch. Justin Anderson’s voyeuristic, slightly creepy but very sexy film for Agent Provocateur is also worth a look. There was the life story of a Leica camera, evoked with exquisite grace and power by Vellas. Comedy showed up strongly in Max Joseph’s great film for the Rainforest Alliance and also in Peter Atencio’s Tarentino homage “Pulled over”. You can see all the work on the New Director’s Showcase Youtube Channel.

David Karp, creator of Tumblr (although no longer owner of Tumblr having sold to Yahoo, who need all the help they can get from David Karp) was up on stage.Tumblr really does seem to represent an opportunity for brands to tell “native” stories in an authentic and free environment without restriction. David Karp mentioned the amazing opportunities brands have to work with tumblr a little too much, coming across a bit like an enthusiastic but very sincere encyclopaedia salesman.

lee clowThen on Friday morning we got to see the standout seminar of the whole week. Legendary ad heroes Lee Clow and George Lois chatting on stage for an hour. Their work speaks for itself, although they have no problem doing that either. It was flat out fascinating as they connected their work from the past 3 decades to what is going on in the industry now. Clow said sagely that he believed the industry was in a “great shaking out”, and no one really knows where it will end. He did say that until art directors and creative people have truly wrested partial curatorship of the web from the tech guys, and when they really start to collaborate their will be fireworks. George Lois said motherfu$&er a lot and told stories of courage and style and bloody minded stubbornness. He ended with the words, “Fight for your work. And if they don’t like it f$ck em.” Yes, quite. George once threatened to jump out of the window of Manhattan Skyscraper when a client refused to buy his layouts. Thankfully we were on the ground floor of the Palais.

The final Shortlists just hit the wires. Ogilvy Cape Town has 2, which gives us a final, slim chance at glory. South Africa has a smattering of TV Shortlists too. So, as we all descend into the Palais to watch the Film Shortlist, we carry with us, along with our free Cornettos and limited edition Cokes, a last smidgen of hope that somewhere a jury is sticking up their hands and handing us a Lion. Tic toc.

Sent from my iPad

Mannes in Cannes: F-bombs and Redemption


Cannes header

Words by Monsieur Chris Gotz

It has not been a good week on earth for South Africa. Our cricketers played with all the resolve of wet biltong. Our Baby Boks, despite having a fullback who rivals the roadrunner for energy and pace, crashed out of the World Cup. Our football team, well they just played like our football team. Thanks heavens for our Ad people, who last night redeemed a miserable week for South Africa on the global stage by winning 19 Lions in Press, Design and Radio. The irrepressible Net#work BBDO traced a now familiar path onto stage to collect yet another 2 Gold’s for Mercedes Benz. And then Silvers and Bronzes, lots and lots of them. The downside was yet another loud starter pistol blank in Cyber, which had me sliding forlornly down my seat and left me feeling like Wayne Ferreira at Wimbledon. Or South Africa at a One Day cricket tournament. Or Bafana Bafana at … you get my drift.

John MaedaI was lucky enough to see John Maeda speak on Creative Leadership yesterday. John is one of those irritating and brilliant polymaths who excel at just about everything. He was recently voted one of the 75 most Influential people of the 21st Century. Creative Leadership, meaning both how to lead creatively and how creative people should lead, is one of the big issues in our industry. More often than not our creative people are appointed on the basis of work they have done, the Lions they have racked up, the Loeries in their cupboard, not leadership ability. Hence the “Mussolini meets Courtney Love they sleep together and have children” style of creative leaders some of us become. He gave me my favourite quote of the festival so far “The grass is always greener on the other side because from far away you can’t see the weeds.” I strongly recommend you get hold of his book “Redesigning leadership“. I found it incredible that a man who is at heart a graphic designer can have the most profound thoughts about redefining leadership. Respect, as they say on the twitter.

I spent much if yesterday afternoon looking at work. The basement hall of the Palais is filled with thousands of pieces of work on display boards, all the shortlisted work in every category. What astonished me was a lot of the work that didn’t win. This was partly because I have residual feelings about the quality of my own work that didn’t win. Nevertheless inspiration, and not winning, remains the true purpose and meaning of Cannes now. Although the organizers will have you think differently.

Last night’s ceremony was a mix of the sublime and the utterly ridiculous.

First up were the endlessly sublime Design Lions. Design is varied and pure and wonderful and just so bloody easy to love. The “Tree Concert” from BBDO Germany for Friends of the Earth will make you happy. The Nike “House of Innovation” window display at Selfridges from Staat Creative in the Netherlands is a beautiful example of what well-crafted digital display can do for retail. The design Lions had integrity and beauty and wonderfully pure craft simply oozing out of every fold and fissure.

The work for 9 Suns Winery made me say the F-bomb to myself slowly.the Grand Prix was an annual report “Self Scan Report” from the wonderful people at ServicePlan Munich. Who would have thought an annual report for a large supermarket chain could win a Grand Prix at Cannes. Not me, I’d try and chuck that brief at some low level junior design minion every time. Yet the Self Scan report is quite brilliant and hugely simple.

Then came the Press Lions. Sandwiched between Cyber and Design, Print is always on a hiding to nothing. Print is fighting for relevance. Print is fighting for its life to be honest. Print is the dinosaur that doesn’t know the goddamn asteroid is about to hit the earth and block out the sun. It seems like the Press Jury may have just decided to speed up the demise of the medium. They followed in a long tradition of utterly crap Grand Prix decisions with their choice of the iPad mini ad for Apple. The Chairman of the Press Jury Marcello Serpa said that the ad was “deceptively simple”. No, Mr Serpa, it was just deceptively shit. Good God. Amongst the Golds were some ads for The Times of India with a pun that wouldn’t get past my junior account man. There was some really great work too, work that was much more deserving of the Grand Prix. The Bayer campaign from AlmapBBDO was lovely and funny and deserved Gold. The campaign for Beijing Sport Radio was cool too. It’s worth looking at the work that that they skipped over in the Silvers and Bronzes (a lot if it admittedly South African), lots of potential Golds there too, perhaps even a likely Grand Prix, but what the heck do I know.

Radio was next. We are “traditionally strong” in radio. It is our security blanket. It disguises our inadequacies in digital and mobile and direct and promo and integrated and cyber. And yes, thankfully, we won Lions in radio. Some superb stuff once again for Mercedes by Net#work BBDO had SA picking up a couple of Golds, the only ones so far for South Africa. There were a few other Golds really worth listening to. First up the AutoTune spot for Dove out of Ogilvy London, the Press Jury should listen to that if they are interested in what deceptively simple really means. The New Zealanders from Draft FCB in Auckland pulled a genius fast one on a local radio station for Prime Television in a radio stunt called Call Girl. And, cue drum roll, brass section, high stepping can can girls, the Radio Grand Prix went to … Dumb Ways to Die. That’s 3 Grand Prix lions and counting for McCann Melbourne, I wouldn’t like to be the finance person that tries to go through their per diems.

Cyber was the last category if the evening. Gone were the websites and games and screen based tricks of the past. Cyber now is all about beautiful crafted and layered film experiences, massively immersive, hugely interactive, multi platformed, add appropriate buzzword here. We need to start looking at digital the same way we see TV : big budget productions with long timelines and massive amounts of effort and craft. If we don’t then Mr Warsop’s Champagne will sit on that creaky leather for a very long time. I felt a bit like the frisky guy in the 10 000 Meters at the Olympics who thinks he really has a good chance and then gets lapped by 12 Kenyans early on in the race. Amphibiox for Geox Shoes from SMFB Oslo was a great example of big budget film values being applied to digital. The Martin Agency produced Clouds over Cuba and showed everyone the future of the documentary – take a good look at this piece, it is truly remarkable and had us chatting about it for ages. For truly extraordinary visual acrobatics look at Golden Chains for ALB from CLM BBDO Boulogne-Billancourt.

The Cyber Grand Prix went to 2 pieces. The Oreo Daily Twist by Draftfcb New York showed us that the true home of tactical advertising is no longer newspapers but the web. The other Grand Prix went to The Beauty Inside from Pereira & O’Dell, San Francisco, for Intel and Toshiba.

A bit of a lull now until the film Shortlist comes out on Friday. It’s always my favourite day at Cannes, hiding away deep in the screening rooms of the Palais devouring the entire reel of film contenders. Rumours are already flying that “DWTD” has to get it. I would rather see Southern Comfort “Whatever’s Comfortable.” win it. So my money is on the big fat guy in a speedo walking down the beach in leather ankle boots. The team that got a client to buy that spot deserve all the Grand Prix that Cannes can possibly throw at them.

Sent from my iPad