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Leo Burnett’s Cannes Predictions Screening in Bangkok

Posted on June 25, 2009 and read 6,993 times

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Every year our good friends at Leo Burnett worldwide in Chicago slip us a few tickets under the table to attend their legendary Saturday night party in Cannes. But in 2009, and again you can blame THE ECONOMY, they had to forego of that much anticipated yearly tradition. With the number of delegates from Thailand also being at an all time low, the month of June was looking to be pretty average for most people who call Bangkok’s creative industry their own. One tradition Leos maintained however, is the yearly Cannes Predictions they’ve been doing for 16 years. And since not too many people were caught deep into the ‘which swimsuit should I pack to impress that sexy art director from Brazil’ debate, they decided to make a very fun night out of it. The theme was ‘Hunger for Lions’ and the event was promoted quite heavily with some pretty cool posters plastered all around and a few of newspaper ads in the Bangkok Post who sponsored the event.

So I was more than glad when Leo Burnett’s ECD Sompat Trisadikun invited me to swing by the screening. ‘Why not’, I thought, ‘it’s not as if there’s anything better to do than spend the evening watching ads on a giant screen in a city like Bangkok, right?’…But let us not go there, this could swing into a different article altogether…

People in Thailand love their advertising. The House Café & Cinema in the very hip RCA district was already packed when I stumbled in after my cab got caught in the infamous city traffic.  The place was packed; at least 500 people were there. Of all sorts. Junior creatives obviously made up the highest proportion of attendees, but there was no shortage of creative directors, management, production people, directors, the lot. Even some clients who were nice enough to show me the way in.

The evening started quite nicely in the lobby where an informal meet and greet, complete with obligatory food, booze and music was held and enjoyed by all.  Lots of catching up: hey where are you at these days, have you heard about X’s big promotion, totally undeserved, it was the client’s idea, and when would be a good time to drop by your office and show you my book.  Ad people seem to be of a special breed; they’re the same all around the world and tend to discuss very similar topics.

After that great preamble, most senior people and press were steered towards one of the two screening rooms they had (amazingly comfortable leather seats by the way, not quite a lazy boy recliner but very very close). The considerable rest of the crowd had to make do with sitting on the floor and watching the show on one of the three projectors in the lobby area.

After a few opening remarks in Thai and English from Leo Burnett Bangkok’s CEO On-Usa Lamliengpol and Sompat Trisadikun -  who knows a thing or two about winning a Lion since he is the man behind the famous bike lock campaign and also happens to be on the Film jury for this year – the screening finally began. All attendees were given a rating card, to play judge, so to speak and pick their winners. Someone will then have the thankless task of compiling all the results, and distributing points on a scale of 10pts for bronze, 20 for silver, 30 for gold and 40 for titanium and grand prix. The highest scoring judges will be unveiled on June 27, with the top dog earning himself a great prize. They didn’t specify, I am guessing it’s not quite an all expenses paid trip to next year’s festival, but hey, stranger things have happened!

All ads were subtitled in Thai to make sure everyone in the audience understood every little bit. Naturists from Ogilvy & Mather London, Dog Fish for AlmapBBDO and Melody of Life from Ogilvy & Mather Bangkok seemed to get the best reactions. Despite the comfortable seats, I have to say the atmosphere was better for those sitting outside. People were discussing every spot, and genuine debate seemed to ensue. Of course the food and drinks available at a hand’s reach probably made the process a bit more enjoyable for those who couldn’t secure a seat inside the screening rooms.

So that was it. Thanks again to Sompat for letting me in, and good luck to everyone who’s been courageous enough to watch and rate the 50 spots. It puts things in perspective when you think there’s about a hundred times more work to plow through at the real judging. Admittedly though, the surroundings are also a tad different. All that’s left to do now is to patiently wait for the results to drop on June 27, and cross my fingers while hoping they will fly me in to accept my prize!






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