Cannes Lions 2015 came to a close on 27th June by which time everybody’s response to “How has it been?” was “weird.”
Despite some illustrious speakers like the founders of Tinder and Snapchat, Sir Tim Berners-Lee (founder of the World Wide Web) and a slew of celebrity speakers including Kim Kardashian, Will.i.am, David Guetta, Pharrell Williams and Monica Lewinsky, the takeaway for most people were the deaths of a Google executive at the start of the festival in a car accident and a journalist at its fag end due to a heart attack.
To say nothing of a controversy that saw Geometry Global (a WPP activation agency) stripped of its Grand Prix for Product Design. Geometry Global Dubai had to give away the Grand Prix it bagged for a project titled ‘Lucky Iron Fish’ following accusations of the agency taking credit for work actually created by a Singapore agency Arcade.
Amid a lot of buzz about this being indicative of the “way Dubai works”, an Indian adman who has spent two years in the market and preferred to remain anonymous said: “Dubai has devious ways of winning awards but then which region doesn’t? Everybody is under pressure and the top bosses who preach about real work are the ones exerting this pressure. Geometry Global just got caught is all.”
WPP’s CEO Sir Martin Sorrell refused to comment on the controversy but did say that the two deaths are a signal that “we may have become too big.” The issue with Cannes is not the cost of entering and sending delegates, it’s the size of Cannes, the fanaticism of it, he said. “Somebody is trying to tell us to slow down a bit. With clients’ top line under extreme pressure, instead of partying on boats in Cannes, we should be spending money on a campaign which clearly lays out an argument that marketing is an investment, not a cost,” he remarked.
In a year in which India won a Grand Prix, its first in six years, it also had to contend with its poorest run on entries, 945, and the metal tally. Five Bronze Lions, six silver metals, one Gold Lion and a Grand Prix, was what we came home with.
And the usual suspect, the clients can’t entirely be blamed either since there was a slew of award winning work on even some marketers like P&G and Dabur. “I think we should focus on traditional categories since we seem to be doing well there, consistently,” said KV Sridhar, chief creative officer of SapientNitro India.