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ihaveanidea’s Extrava-Cannes-za 2010

Posted on July 5, 2010 and read 4,192 times

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brettcreditpic ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Brett McKenzie
Chief Writer, SBN2
ihaveanidea


WEDNESDAY, JUNE 30th, A CAFÉ IN MONTREAL’S PLATEAU DISTRICT

Ignacio: Hey.

Brett: Hey.

Ignacio: …so?

Brett: … yeah. This is the first day I feel normal.

Ignacio: I can’t tell you how much I slept. Twelve, fourteen hour blocks.

Brett: I’m only now coming out of my house.

Ignacio: Wow.

Brett: Hear from Steph?

Ignacio: Yeah. She’s coming here later.

Brett: And Rafik?

Ignacio: He got his flight. He’ll be scarce on email, but he has a cell number.

Brett: Cool.

(long pause)

Brett: You know…. Cannes is like some kind of advertising succubus. Lots of fun, but boy does it drain every last drop of you.

_________________________

Rewind to a week and a half and a million years ago, and the ihaveanidea team was getting ready to venture back into the annual advertising Mecca that is the Cannes Lions Festival. Like many, we had taken the previous year off, citing “the economy” as pretty much as a catch-all phrase for anything and everything that plagued 2009.

And what a difference a year makes! For us, we were still basking in the success of our largest Portfolio Night ever, and knew we’d meet a lot of the people responsible for this on the French Riviera. We just wrapped up the first ever session of the Tomorrow Awards, and we’d have a chance to chat with not only some of the winners and shortlisters, but also with people who were definitely keen on the award show but didn’t enter that first quarter. And of course we had just officially launched GiantHydra, and we were ready to get the word out among the movers and shakers of the ad world. Throw in the fact that this gonna be the first time at Cannes for Stephanie Pellicer, ihaveanidea’s Event Director (and head of Portfolio Night), and Rafik Belmesk, our Director of Operations (and Tomorrow Awards lead) and we knew this was gonna be one important week.

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SATURDAY/SUNDAY

I don’t think we’ve ever taken a later flight on ihaveanidea business before, but here we were, straggling into Pierre Elliott Trudeau Airport for an 11:30 PM direct flight from Montreal to not Nice, France (the usual route) but rather Marseille. A change of pace, if you will, with a plan to either take the train or rent a car and bomb it down the highway — both a two hour trip through the French countryside, not a bad idea at all. But first, getting on the plane, with me bringing about 18 pounds of excess baggage (hey, the outfits gotta get there somehow)

dscn6873 3 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Steph and Ignacio just before takeoff.

A gruelling seven and a half hours later (the lady behind me was dead set against me reclining my seat beyond a completely vertical state) we arrived in Marseille during a small window of opportunity where there was no form of union strike. We grabbed a few strong coffees and wandered over to the Hertz rental, opting to go at our own pace in a car rather than the train. Picking out a comfy Eclipse Grey Renault Scénic to hold all our stuff, we were very soon on our way to Cannes.

dscn6874 3 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Buckle up kids, or else Daddy’s gonna turn this car around and go back home.

dscn6875 3 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010What, you expected someone else to call shotgun?

Very quickly into our journey we decided that we were in no rush to get to Cannes. The fast way was really just your standard toll highway, and not a terribly picturesque one at that. So throwing caution into the wind (and turning on the livesaving GPS system) we instead headed south, intent on travelling along the Mediterranean coast. This was probably the best decision made over the course of the week, as we were treated to stunning ocean views and a relaxed pace that would prove to be a sharp contrast to the days ahead. We even pulled off into an seaside pizzeria in La Lavandou to grab a bite to eat.

dscn6876 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010This place would start a week-long trend where I would receive — and finish — my order long before Rafik would get his.

After looking at a few maps, we realized that if we hugged the coast too closely during our drive, we probably wouldn’t end up in Cannes until sometime the next day. A quick alterations to the GPS and we were on our way inland, unknowingly to a very long stretch that we referred to as… THE ROAD OF DEATH.

Get the Flash Player to see the wordTube Media Player.

Honestly this little clip is far tamer than what we would experience. Imagine: 45 minutes of hairpins and switchbacks, almost no guard rails, 50 foot drops on one side, sheer granite walls on the other, traffic in both directions but virtually impossible for two cars to pass and stay on the road entirely… and this was on a sunny afternoon. I’d hate to think what it would be like at night or in the rain.

By the way, if you’re ever in that area of France and you feel adventurous and/or suicidal, I believe the road was Route de la Môle, just east of Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer. Happy travels.

dscn6880 3 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010The famous Saint-Tropez, as seen from just as pretty Sainte-Maxime

The sun was hanging low in the shy as we rolled into Cannes, and after fifteen hours of combined air and road travel, we knew we weren’t going to be up to much that evening. We got Stephanie checked into her hotel (she wisely opted out of staying with the boys) before making our way to “The Palatial”, ihaveanidea’s swanky digs a block north of the infamous Gutter Bar. A bite to eat, a quick tour of the town to get Steph and Rafik acclimated, and a quiet night of relaxing at the Majestic, watching Brazil beat Côte d’Ivoire and getting ready for the exciting week ahead.

photo ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010The veteran and the rookie arrive at The Palatial

_________________________

MONDAY

You never know what each day of Cannes is going to be like, but one thing seems to always ring true: the day after your arrival is one where you just sorta dip your toe in to see if the water is fine. We were exhausted from our long trek to get into town the night before, and the first morning was spent just settling in, looking for adapters to plug our North American junk into French outlets and getting the interwebs up and working. Since ‘The Palatial’ is an apartment, that meant we needed to hit the supermarket for the essentials… in our case, beer, wine and rum. Cannes Tip #3269: the supermarket is your friend, the bars are your enemies. You can buy a 20-pack of Kronenbourg 1664 — the official beer of Cannes good times — for about ten euros at the supermarket, roughly the cost of a single beer at the Martinez or the Gutter Bar. And since our place is literally steps away from the Gutter Bar, it was very easy for us to go upstairs, pull a few frosty ones out of the fridge, and be back at the party in no time flat. Yeah, yeah, if you have an agency credit card, go nuts. In fact, if you have an agency credit card, could you pick up the tab for us at the Majestic?

Monday wasn’t too crazy for any of us. We arranged meetings for later on in the week, showed Rafik and Steph around some more — they were scheduled to have more meetings than Ignacio or myself, and they needed to know where all the little places were — and just lazed about.That evening, we chose a bit of an usual way to kick off our time in Cannes: we attended a rooftop reception by the Association of Quebec Advertising Agencies. Normally we find it a bit counterproductive to travel the thousands of miles to Cannes only to hang out with people from the same city that you can see any day of the week, but the way we see it, we can always get to know more people in Montreal — ihaveanidea is still kinda ‘new’ to the city. Our good pal from VCU Rick Boyko would be interviewing Bertrand Cesvet, Chairman of Sid Lee at the receptiion too, and that should be cool to watch. And besides, the party was being held on the rooftop of 67 la Croisette, quite possibly the best view in Cannes.

dscn6884 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Rick Boyko asks Bertrand Cesvet a most pressing question — when is Sid Lee gonna hook me up with a new pair of adidas Superstars?

The AQAA reception turned out to be a lot of fun. We met a lot of fellow Montrealers that we hadn’t known before, and there were a number of guests from other parts of the world, including some Aussies who might prove integral to bringing Portfolio Night back to Sydney. Stay tuned on that one!

Our first real night in Cannes ended up the same way that most nights in Cannes end up: outside the infamous Gutter Bar. Not sure if they did it last year in our absence, but this year Yahoo! had branded the bar, with big purple and white Yahoo! signs where the name of the bar would be if it actually had a name. Yahoo! also wrapped the bar’s refrigerated trailer, where they keep the excess beer the joint will sell during this week — some message about big beer brands advertising via Yahoo! Will this branding effort work, or will ad folk be far too drunk to care? Although I didn’t see any passed out guys with piss-soaked pants yet (as I have every single year at the Gutter Bar) nobody was doing the Yahoo! yodel either.

While the crowds were decent, the Gutter Bar wasn’t the mass of broken glass and awkward propositions it usually devolves into by week’s end. Ignacio and I know what we’re doing; we gotta ease Steph and Rafik into the madness.

dscn6893 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Don’t worry, it’s still early in the week yet

_________________________

TUESDAY

One thing that you learn very quickly about conducting business in Cannes is that schedules need to be a little flexible; you’re not holding a meeting in a Midtown Manhattan boardroom, but rather a casual chat over drinks in a Mediterranean paradise. Yo this end, I didn’t get too panicked when my first planned meeting didn’t exactly go down how I wanted. I had an 11 AM meeting with Lincoln Bjorkman, the North American Chief Creative Officer at Digitas. Lincoln had written a pretty insightful Super Bowl analysis on ihaveanidea, and I wanted to finally get to meet him and shoot the breeze.

But the clock hit 11:30, then 11:45 before Lincoln came running onto the Carlton terrace. It turns out that his digital calendar thingamajig didn’t sync with his scheduling whoozit (that’s why I keep my appointments in my head) But no worries, this is Cannes, it’s high noon on a gorgeous summer day. We didn’t get to do a proper interview, but we did have a few laughs and drinks, with plans to touch base after this week of madness.

dscn6894 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010I’ll get you next time, Mr. Bjorkman! BWAHAHAHA!

On the Tuesday night, Cannes still hasn’t erupted into the crazy bacchanalia it eventually becomes; even though it is the night of the official opening gala, those festivities are for people who shelled out the €2100+ for a delegate badge, not exactly in the ihaveanidea budget.

Luckily our friends at Apollo Studios seem to think the way we do, and so they had their own little get together in their apartment on La Croisette. This really isn’t anything new; this Canadian/European music workshop is known to have these little parties just about every night, every year in Cannes, usually a great place to stop in before you go to one party or after you come back from another. But this Tuesday was a tiny bit special, as it was Apollo producer Didier Tovel’s birthday, as well as the launch of his C4 Experiment with Christopher Walken… well close enough. At any rate, the vibes were nice, the people were friendly, and I do so hope to run into that Swedish girl I met here before the week is out.

We closed off the night with a few hours at the Gutter Bar; it’s hard not to when your apartment is almost on top of it. But I do have a statement to make regarding this evening. Dear Internet: I don’t know who it was out there, but one of you logged into DavidOnDemand and elected for the Leo Burnett online sensation to drink my beer. Not a beer. My beer.

Not cool, man. Not cool.

_________________________

WEDNESDAY

Wednesday wasn’t one of those “crack of dawn” days where we were scrambling to get out to our appointments. Stephanie had Portfolio Night business to discuss (was it about the possibility of adding Tokyo to next year’s list, or was it Istanbul?) Rafik had more Tomorrow Awards stuff up his sleeve, and Ignacio had a full day of GiantHydra work on his plate. As for me, I had a meeting set up with Richard Bates, Chief Creative Officer of The Brand Union in New York City. I had interviewed Richard over the telephone last summer, but it was nice to finally meet up with him face to face, and to find out what business a designer has at the biggest advertising festival in the world.

____________

dscn6896 195x261 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010ihaveanidea: You are a designer, and this is only the third year that Cannes Lions has design categories. What are your thoughts on Cannes’ efforts to include design?

Richard: Call me slightly cynical, but I still think of Cannes as an advertising award with design tacked on possibly to get more revenue. But because there is so much hype around these awards, I mean the agencies already think it’s the most important award out there, and I think this will trickle down to design firms.

It’s interesting to see so much of what’s in the design section of the awards is also in the advertising section, and agencies are just double-entering. But I think that’s kinda good in a way, because it’s also a result of what’s happening in the real world. Branding agencies are starting to do a much broader range of work. Nowawdays, when we pitch we might do brand positioning and identity, all the way to advertising. And the advertising agencies are doing the same thing. The worlds are colliding, and now so are the award shows.

ihaveanidea: What would you tell your fellow designers, the ones who might sneer a bit at the advertising world, about your experiences here in Cannes?

Richard: There are a couple of terms being bandied about here a lot. It used to be about ‘storytelling’, but now people are saying it’s less about storytelling and more about ‘conversation.’ I think both are true, and can be taken back to the design world. As far as the award-winning work is concerned, as a separate entity from work that is effective, really clear, quick storytelling is what wins here. How do you communicate your idea in the most unique and simplest way that will resonate the quickest amongst the broadest range of people. That’s an age-old thought, but I don’t think that all designers really value that. To them, it’s okay to tell a deeper, more complex story, but you won’t have time to tell that story here. Crafting a project to win an award, and crafting a project for a client or brand are not the same thing at all.

(laughs) And the process of entering the awards is a craft unto itself. Look at how crafted case study videos have become.

ihaveanidea: But you gotta admit, with the short time span between judging and awarding, Cannes is pretty exciting.

Richard: (laughs) Oh I was thrilled when we found out we were shortlisted. And no, the design world has nothing as flashy or as sexy as Cannes. If you’re gonna go all out, the French Riviera is hard to beat.

____________

Wednesday evening had all of the ihaveanidea crew having a lovely dinner with Rick Boyko and his wife Barbara. I wish I could remember the name of the place, but the boeuf au poivre was devine… as was all of the chicken and bacon atop Barbara’s Caesar salad (hey, waste not, want not) But as usual, the buzz around Cannes on Wednesday night was for the MassiveMusic party. The Amsterdam based music company is renowned for its Wednesday night beach dance-off, and this year also marked the tenth anniversary of the company. Passes are hard to come by, but luckily I had an ‘in’ (good looking out, Scott!)

dscn68971 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010To kick off the tenth anniversary events, MassiveMusic brought out a ten-year-old axe handler. No word if he got any groupies that evening.

dscn6898 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010The King of Cannes with a little Turkish delight

While the party wasn’t open bar, and even though the dancefloor eventually became too crowded to bust my patented dance steps, we salute MassiveMusic for really getting the week going. It was at this point that Cannes Lions moved from ‘gathering’ to ‘paaaaaaarty’, one that carried right on over to the Gutter Bar and into the wee hours.

_________________________

THURSDAY

With no lingering effects from the MassiveMusic party or the Gutter Bar from the night before, we were all up and at ‘em with our daily meetings. For me, this meant a sitdown on the Carlton terrace with one half of the amazing sibling team that heads up La Comunidad, Mr. José Mollå.

____________

dscn6901 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010ihaveanidea: How is Cannes shaping up for you this year? I mean, last year, there was all this doom and gloom, entries were down, attendance was down, parties were more low-key. Is Cannes back this year?

José: Well I think Cannes is crisis-proof, at the end of the day. But beyond Cannes, I don’t think the economic scenario has changed that much, but I think people got used to the idea of it. They said “okay, this crisis is going to be around for a while” and they went back to doing what they were doing. (laughs) Then again, I was raised in Latin America, where we had a crisis every day.

But you see it in people’s faces here, they’re more relaxed, they’re not as afraid. So yes, Cannes is back, but only because people are adapting.

ihaveanidea: Could it be that this crisis affects the big networks a lot harder, leaving shops like yours out of the fray?

José: Well I will say that this is the best time ever for agencies like ours. It’s all about ideas, and even though budgets are down, clients’ expectations are up. That’s perfect for us, to have clients who still want incredible ideas even though resources are lower.

ihaveanidea: You have some really good stuff in the show this year, some Converse work as well as MTV. What do awards mean nowadays?

José: Well this is my take on it all. Awards used to be great for keeping up to speed in what’s going on in the ad world. Of course that’s not really relevant anymore, as you see great work all the time, coming at you from so many different channels. But I do believe that awards keep creatives motivated. Agencies run on motivation, and a motivated agency will do ten times the amount of work for a client than an agency that isn’t motivated. And awards are only one way of motivating an agency. A client can call up their agency and say “I just saw the latest thing you did for another client. It’s great!” That phone call costs nothing, but will motivate a team like crazy.

But awards can’t be the goal, they must be the consequence of creating great work.

____________

Each year in Cannes, a very lucky, very select group of advertising students from around the world get the education of a lifetime by participating in the Roger Hatchuel Academy. Imagine adding that extra shine on your education by participating in classes overseen by VCU‘s Rick Boyko and Central Saint Martins’ Clive Challis, with heartfelt talks with guest speakers like David Droga, Tham Khai Meng and… Ignacio Oreamuno?

Yes, on Thursday afternoon, ihaveanidea’s president became an ‘unofficial’ speaker at the Academy, at a beautiful rooftop Q&A session overlooking the Mediterranean. So what could Ignacio bring to the table that would be of interest to a group of kids who have been rubbing shoulders with creative legends all week long? Nothing fancy, just about fear, about emotion, about doing things instead of just planning to do things, about not accepting things as they are. It was a very inspiring chat; even for me, who has been so close to the ihaveanidea project for so many years that it’s hard to see that it was started when we were nobodies, and here we were, holding court on the biggest industry stage of them all. If that doesn’t move some of these Academy kids to do their own thing, I don’t know what will.

National pride. Civic duty. Yes, these things come into play here in Cannes. You see, every Thursday afternoon for as long as time itself, there has been a Canadian beach party in Cannes. It’s not audacious or flashy — in fact, in past years it has been quite tame — but as a Canadian, it’s your duty to pass through and say hi to the people you normally don’t have to travel thousands of miles to see. So the ihaveanidea team sucked it up, put on our brave faces, and joined our fellow Canucks… only to find that this year, the party wasn’t half-bad. Better music, better food, more people, lots of Desperados tequila-flavoured beer (not very Canadian, but what the hell), I can honestly say that this was probably the best one I attended. But I still think they gotta put the word out and invite non-Canadians to the shindig if they wanna be as cool as the Brazilians or the Swedes. Case in point, we went to another Swedish party at Plage Goeland after the Canuck one, and the Swedes were welcoming everyone with little blue and yellow flags to redeem at the bar. We even met up with Tony Högqvist, CD of Perfect Fools and one of the champions of bringing Portfolio Night to Stockholm for the first time this year..

dscn6904 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010I may be the King of Cannes, but DDB’s Frank Palmer just might be the King of the Canada Cannes party

Thursday night was another big party night in Cannes (isn’t every night?) We didn’t have those elusive tickets to the annual Shots party, but we did more than okay by attending the Y&R beach bash. The drinks were flowing, as was the music, provided by the kick-ass French all-girl rock band Les Plastiscines. Unfortunately we rocked a little too hard, and my sunglasses, which have survived every trip to Cannes since 2006, ended up shattered on the floor. Yeah, they’re only ten bucks, but damn…

dscn6905 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Mesdames et messieurs… voici les Plastiscines!

dscn6911 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Everybody’s gettin’ down to the Y&R sound…

dscn6908 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010… including a slightly stewed Stephanie…

To be perfectly honest, there must’ve been something in those Y&R drinks, because the rest of the night was a bit of a blur. We all have the vaguest recollections of the Gutter Bar, and I think I ended up on some steps behind the Carlton, waiting for the street to stop spinning quite so much. Whatever I was up to, I did manage to miss Ignacio and Rafik’s sunrise swim sans swimsuit.

_________________________

FRIDAY

Friday was a rough, rough morning, the first one where all four ihaveanidea people would clearly agree with the statement “I had too much to drink.” Ignacio alleges that I phoned him at some point the previous night night, unable to find my way home, but apparently near “a tree”. Steph did make it back to her hotel in delicate but stable shape, and Rafik… well, read above.

But no time for remorse, we still had a day ahead of us! Going our separate ways, but with plans to meet up to watch the Brazil-Portugal game, I went off and had afantastic lunch at the Carlton with John Maxham, ECD of Cole & Weber United in Seattle. Cole & Weber was one of the agencies shortlisted in the inaugural spring session of the Tomorrow Awards, for their Olympics “Best of Us Challenge“, and we’ve been chatting with people behind all of the winners and shortlisters to dig deeper and find out more about their work. I’ll save John’s anecdotes for another day, but I will say one thing… Usain Bolt needs to slow down, and I’m not talking about his running.

The soccer game, viewed from the Film Brazil camp at Plage Goeland, ended up being a scoreless draw, but Ignacio got to break in his official World Cup vuvuzela, brought to him by a friend visiting the festival by way of South Africa.

One cool meeting happened that evening. After our prerequisite time on the Carlton terrace with the Boykos (highlighted by the sabotaging of Rick’s iPhone by Ignacio, and Rick’s immediate revenge) we headed over to the Crispin Porter + Bogusky/MDC reception at Rado Beach. No crazy parties here, just a private gathering of the Boulder crew and friends. It’s always wonderful to see Chuck Porter, and was great to finally meet the legendary Jeff Benjamin, but perhaps the coolest thing was running into CP+B interactive art director Rachel Wolak, one half of Team YouTube in the Young Lions competition. See, this wasn’t the first time I had met Rachel; she was a participant at Portfolio Night 6 two years ago in San Francisco, the year I was at the West Coast events. So wow, two years ago someone was shopping her book around at Portfolio Night, and here she is, in a relatively short time span, kicking ass at Cannes. Congrats, Rachel! And it makes me wonder how many more success stories we’ll run into.

dscn6919 5 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Two Crispin superstars, one considerably more attractive than the other.

Traditionally, Friday Night in Cannes has meant lots of big parties, highlighted by an annual battle between DDB and Leo Burnett over the title of “Party You Wish You Had an Invite To.” But “the economy” got in the way and cancelled those two megaparties in 2009, and it appears that taking the year off made them reconsider the whole concept in 2010, because Leo and DDB were quiet on their traditional night. No worries, still lots happening, and for us that ended up being an almost as huge booze-up on the beach with CAB Films of South Africa.A tip of the hat to the South Africans; they may have gone out of the World Cup early, but they know how to party.

Of course, no evening would be complete without a trip to the Gutter Bar, but this one was going to be truncated a bit. It turns out that while the folks at Leo Burnett weren’t holding a giant shindig, they still had a sweet location on the Croisette, and were inviting people up to their pad and terrace above the storefronts to watch the sun come up. It was a motley bunch of people up there, from all over the world, and we all snacked on croque-monsieurs and cold Heinekens, lounging around and chatting. We even had a quick chat with David Perez during those rare moments when he wasn’t on demand. All in all, a sweet evening… er, morning.

dscn6949 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Rooftop friends

dscn6946 3 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010A good time being had by all

dscn6952 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010The sun is starting to come up.

dscn6956 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Okay, the sun is up, what now? Keep drinking? Sure!

dscn6955 4 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Still going…

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SATURDAY

No rest for the wicked. The Leo Burnett sunrise party may have wrapped up at about 8 AM, but there’s no time to sleep, not when you have a sit-down with a top dog at the Carlton in less than two hours. We’re getting a chance to chat with Susan Bonds, President and CEO of 42 Entertainment, and I’m really looking forward to this. Why’s that? Well two years ago at Cannes I had met Susan, and back then she was a total newcomer to this world of advertising award shows, an outsider to this world. She had just won the Cyber Grand Prix for The Dark KnightWhy So Serious?” campaign, the first thing I believe they ever entered into an ad show. And here we are two years later, with another Cyber Grand Prix on the mantle (for Nine Inch Nails “Year One” project) and a two-time Cannes jury member.

____________

jury 20100218125719 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010

ihaveanidea: So how does it feel to go from neophyte to a big player in the game in a few short years?

Susan: It feels great! One of the biggest benefits that I learned by being on the Cyber Jury last year was that being involved in the process of looking at and judging all of the work is that you get a real appreciation for innovation, how things touch people emotionally, and so on. We’ve always approached this from the point of view of storytelling, content and pulling people into an experience. And as technology becomes more pervasive and connectivity has changed all of our lives, I think the stuff we were doing that was seen as new and edgy, a lot of people are looking at that and asking how it applies to their brands or clients. There’s been an evolution, and it’s evident in the work we judged this year.

ihaveanidea: What’s the biggest thing you learned while judging this year?

Susan: That the strength of an idea really has to be carried all the way through. Ideas are like kids. They need to be protected and nurtured and allowed to grow up. You can often see ideas where you can say they were onto something, but where they take it makes the difference.

The Titanium and Integrated category here at Cannes, well, can you think of a single thing that’s not really integrated? It’s become the norm now to be on multiple screens and platforms and to have a 360 degree experience around a brand. But you can really tell if someone is just checking the checklist in terms of elements versus really thinking about what that could do for our idea, our client, our story.

ihaveanidea: When judging something like, say print, you can know in an instant if something grabs you, if it’s good or not, then move onto the next piece. How do you judge something as rich and deep and meaty as some of these digital and integrated experiences? Something that doesn’t grab you immediately but could hold you for hours, time you don’t have on a jury?

Susan: I can truly understand that dilemma, having worked on a project like The Dark Knight which was a fifteen-month active engagement with an audience with a thousand different touchpoints. How do you sum that up in three minutes? But I think it call comes back to the strength of the idea. I will say that we definitely took our time and appreciated the fact that people who entered this category took it very seriously, and so we did as well, and looked at everything intently.

ihaveanidea: How does looking at all of this great work and awarding the best affect you when you go back home to do your own work? What do you take away from here to make 42 Entertainment even better?

Susan: I think the challenge we all face nowadays is that because of the World Wide Web, most of the campaigns we do have a global nature to them, deliberate or not. Every time I come here I learn more about the nuances that exist when you take ideas around the world. I think about how you can make something that’s relevant for everyone, no matter where they are in the world. A good story can transcend, but there are definitely people here who have clearly been thinking about the global nature of their work.

I also think that as technology becomes less about novelty, there are only so many “firsts” you can claim before flashy new bits have to give way to solid insight. I’ll definitely be bringing this thought back home with me.

____________

Susan Bond wasn’t the only person I chatted with two years ago who would have a new view of things today. Back in 2008 I also had the opportunity to speak with Tony Granger, who was then the newly minted Worldwide Chief Creative Officer of Young & Rubicam. Sitting in that sun-soaked opulence of the terrace of Carlton International Hotel, you’ll hear a bunch of creative directors from all over the world  backslapping and gladhanding each other, making wild predictions for the future of the industry and of their own networks. Tony was one of these people, and he had stated his goal to turn the creative fortunes of Y&R around in two years. Yeah, it was a lofty claim, but Tony has had the magic touch before, guiding a vision that brought hardware to Saatchi & Saatchi (globally and in London) and Bozell.

Two years later, here we are in Cannes. and I’m chatting to some Y&R people who get me to concede that Tony was right. With moments to go before the swanky final award show of the Festival, Y&R has won a network record 49 Lions, with thirteen coming from the flagship New York office alone. Unfortunately Tony isn’t here in Cannes this year — a daughter’s graduation is more important than a paltry award show — but you know me, I’m not gonna just leave it with quotes from PR.  A few minutes later I have Tony on the phone in New York, alking about his two-year mission, as well as his plans for the next few years.

____________

tony granger ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010ihaveanidea: Well Tony, you said it, and it looks like you did it. But let’s go back to saying it in the first place. What was your true mission laid out two years ago? Not just to win trophies…

Tony: Even before I fully stepped into my role at Y&R, the first and most important thing I wanted to do was determine that my business partner Hamish McClennan and I could work as a true partnership, to have intimate decision making powers. and to set the tone for the network. Without that close partnership and shared vision with Hamish, I don’t think we would’ve been successful. In learning more about the DNA of Y&R’s 70-plus year history, I discovered that Y&R was the first agency network created by the pairing of a creative and a suit. So right in its origins was the mandate for the relationship Hamish and I enjoy today.

Back in 1923, Raymond Rubicam stated “resist the usual”, and that was like a bolt of lightning. I thought “what better time than now to implement this.”

ihaveanidea: But this success that you and Hamish found wasn’t simply bringing an old quote to life. What did you have to do to achieve this turnaround that you didn’t necessarily have with, say Saatchi.

Tony: Well one thing I discovered with Y&R that is different than some of the other networks is that Y&R offices tend to have more local clients versus national or global ones. This gave each office a little more of an entrepreneurial spirit, something that I wanted to maintain. The intimacy that each offices shares with its local clients, I wanted to infuse that throughout our network. All of our CDs know each other and get along and help one another. We all get together three or four times a year, to focus not only on the work but on the people and the technologies that will drive us even further.

ihaveanidea: Y&R New York is kicking ass. I hear it’s the only US agency to get a Lion this year in Press. Is it because you have your fingerprints on it more than others?

Tony: Hamish and I worked hard to establish New York as a flagship of the network. I focused a lot of energy there, making sure we built the right cast.

ihaveanidea: So what’s next?

Tony: We’re just getting started. One of the things we’re concentrating on is creating content with our clients. I’m confident this is a logical direction to go. And of course we want to build on our award show successes. We were Agency Network of the Year in the New York Festivals and ADC. We’re looking at moving up in the Gunn Report. It’s all about evolving. That’s what Y&R is doing.

____________

The rest of the Saturday was pretty low-key, as the weight of the week started to take its toll. We all sorta did our own thing that day, with my “thing” being to finally get in some beach time and send a few emails. Met up with Steph as she did some shopping, and while Rafik went to the final night awards, the three of us indulged in a Cannes tradition: dinner at Pizzeria Cresci. Keep your closing gala and fireworks, I’ll settle for the best pizza on the Riviera.

Of course Cannes wouldn’t be complete without one last go at the Gutter Bar, and as per ihaveanidea tradition, the last night is when the King of Cannes dons the white linens, this year set off with a dark orange shirt and matching fedora.

dscn6960 4 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Care for a little rosé? How about a lot of rosé?

dscn6963 2 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Stephanie doing her best ‘deer in the headlights’impression

dscn6971 4 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010Former Future Lion and current R/GAer Karen Gereffi, Ignacio and myself. Karen berated me for not cutting my hair in an elaborate pattern this year.

Now normally this is when I wind up taking a less than sober photograph hugging with David Droga, as I’ve done every year. Unfortunately our paths never crossed paths this year, but I think I did better off this time around.

dscn6969 4 ihaveanideas Extrava Cannes za 2010The King of Cannes with the true Queens of Cannes

_________________________

SUNDAY

Can we even call the final Sunday a separate day from Saturday? Steph called it an “early” night on Saturday, leaving the Gutter Bar at about 3 AM, but Rafik had a very early morning train to catch back to Marseille in order to catch a holiday flight to Algiers. Ignacio and I weren’t much better; we didn’t secure a rental car back to Marseille, so we’d be meeting Steph at the train station to catch an 8:00 AM TGV. And so, the troopers that we were, we all stayed at the Gutter Bar until the sun came up and they were hosing down the streets. After our sort of week, they could’ve turned the hoses on us, to wash the figurative grime away.

If there was view to be seen from Cannes to Marseille via the train, we sure as hell didn’t notice. With plush seats and plenty of room to sprawl out, we slept the entire trip. The train was so fast that we eventually got to the airport with three hours to spare. Unfortunately sleep was hard to come by, as all the airlines were having a huge sale that day exclusively for parents with screaming, completely undisciplined children.

Plane. Lots of legroom thanks to Ignacio booking us into the emergency exit rows. Screaming babies. Earplugs. Eight hours later, back in Montreal. Searched by security, who completely ignored the fact that I was over the limit on alcohol — they seemed to be keen on finding illegally imported sausages and foie gras. Into car. Dropped off at home. Trail of clothes to the shower. Trail of towels to the bed. Sleep til Tuesday. Afternoon.






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