David Reviews

 "You're not an artist, Peggy. You solve problems." Don Draper.

CAPTAIN'S BLOG: CANNES: WE KICK IT.
28 June 2018

Sometimes it takes a genuine outsider to reveal the complete absurdity of what is happening around you. So it was for DAVID as he was stood up to his waist in the Mediterranean Sea and a woman with a broad Yorkshire accent sidled over and asked: "what's going on?"

She had ventured to Cannes for the day with her husband to celebrate their tenth wedding anniversary. With their children safely ensconced with their grandparents, they envisaged a day on the beach, and a few glasses of wine during a romantic meal in a quiet bistro. What they couldn't have anticipated was that the French resort would be overrun by lanyarded louts brimming with self-importance, and other determined networkers vainly hoping for the chance encounter that would justify their week in the sun.

Tellingly, she was surprised that it had anything to do with advertising. Walking along the Croisette and spotting giant logos belonging to Google, Apple, Facebook and Twitter, she and her husband had determined that the chaotic crowds were there for a tech conference, and - let's face it - she wasn't nearly as wrong as we wish she was.

DAVID warned her that things were likely to get pretty messy if she and her husband stuck around until the end of the evening. She glanced up and down the beach with a sceptical eye as if thinking: 'this lot wouldn't last five minutes in a Leeds nightclub'. She wasn't wrong about that either.


Two key decisions taken last year ensured that the 2018 festival would be a bit different. The Publicis Groupe's decision to boycott this year's event left Cannes Lions reeling and it led to their bold decision to contract the festival from eight days to five. Publicis's discontent wasn't isolated... there have been mutterings from WPP and some of the other networks for years about the expense of sending hundreds of staff on an all-expenses paid blow-out on the French Riviera. Whatever the motives, the abbreviated Festival certainly felt a little more business-like and a Friday finale is a big improvement on the traditional Saturday finish.

The Publicis Group's non-participation was - it turned out - something of a canard. A painful series of rationalisations set out in a pre-Festival press release revealed what everyone had suspected for the last year: while the group's agencies hadn't paid for their work to be entered into competition, they had 'encouraged' clients, production companies and post companies to do so instead. They also attended the Festival in their droves but only "at the invitation of Cannes Lions" themselves or as "guests" of other participating companies. The Publicis Groupe reduced itself to the status of someone stood outside a pub chain smoking everyone else's cigarettes while claiming they've kicked the habit.

Meanwhile, the contraction into five days certainly didn't thwart the Festival's appetite for expansion. In total, Cannes Lions handed out thirty Grands Prix this year - the most ever. While this is a indicative of a splintering landscape, it's also indicative of the Cannes Lions pyramid scheme.

There may soon be an egg-and-spoon Grand Prix for the companies who were unable to win a Lion in any of the other categories... prizes for all the boys and girls.


It's not unusual for Martin Sorrell's stunted shadow to loom over Cannes Lions but this year was different. No longer at the helm of WPP and unable to deflect rumours about bullying and consorting with prostitutes, Sorrell nonetheless bullishly returned to the fray. His appearance was akin to the disgraced Louis Winthorpe III turning up at the Heritage Cub in the film 'Trading Places' and expecting everyone to greet him as they always had.

Sorrell took part in two events in Cannes. The main event was an unedifying wrestling match with New Yorker journalist Ken Auletta as Sorrell aggresively attempted to control the agenda but was nonetheless obliged to once again issue a nuanced denial that he hadn't used company funds to pay for prostitutes. The other encounter was much more friendly, as Stephen Lepitak of The Drum allowed the troubled tycoon to filibuster to such an extent that it was like watching a drawn out edition of Radio 4 favourite 'Just A Minute'.

If Sorrell didn't use WPP money to pay for his peccadilloes then it could be argued that it's not really anyone's business but his own. But when an England footballer is dragged through a tabloid maelstrom because of a tattoo on his leg on the basis that he's a 'role model', perhaps Martin Sorrell should be held to similar standard.


This wasn't just a live issue because of Martin Sorrell though. Pitch magazine founder Sherry Collins revealed to the BBC that her first trip to the Festival was sullied when she was mistaken for a prostitute.

Collins opted to put a message on the back page of the latest edition of her magazine: "We are black creative women heading to Cannes, please do not ask us how much for the night."

It's a massive reality check for the industry. All the brave talk about diversity and inclusivity in the daytime seminars doesn't count for anything if those delivering their pious speeches are yielding to their racist misogyny by night.


What then of the prizes themselves? British advertising did rather well - there was a decent number of London-bound personnel at Nice airport being stopped because of Lion shaped statuettes in the hand baggage.

And our companies picked up a few Grands Prix too. Though not in the coveted Film category. This year's jury couldn't decide between two US ads: 'It's a Tide ad' which wowed everyone at this year's Super Bowl, and P & G's 'The Talk'.

Both were well deserved, with 'The Talk' scoring a unique double. The night before his film was awarded the biggest prize in advertising, Corner Shop director Malik Vitthal had picked up a Gold at the Young Director Awards.

While success at the YDAs frequently signals future achievements, it's unprecedented for that success to arrive in less than thirty-six hours!


Anyone who attended May's CraftWorks at the LSE will be in no doubt how much James Rouse's film for the Red Cross means to the Outsider director, so to see it pick up the Grand Prix in the Film Craft category must have been a tremendous reward for his hard work.

Without signalling what had won, Diane McArter - who was president of the Film Craft jury - revealed in the podcast she recorded with DAVID REVIEWS that she and her fellow jurors had identified an extraordinary piece of work, and she was right about that.

It sounds ridiculous to say that a film which picked up a Grand Prix had a disappointing Cannes, but expectations for Nike's 'Nothing Beats a Londoner' were so high that picking up the big prize in the new Social & Influencer category seems an inadequate return... even though it also picked up a Gold Lion for W+K and RiffRaff's Megaforce.

AMV and Somesuch's Daniel Wolfe picked up the Glass Lion Grand Prix for positive change for their brilliant Libresse ad.

adam&eveDDB won Agency of the Year for the second time in five years, a tremendous achievement for an agency that's so well established that it's almost impossible to believe that it's only just celebrated its tenth anniversary. AMV BBDO came second.

Production Company of the Year went to MJZ, with Australia's Revolver in second place and The Corner Shop in third.

Stories

STRAIGHT 8 WILL MAKE YOUR CANNES EXPERIENCE WORTHWHILE.

At this year's Festival of Creativity in Cannes you can make your whole experience worthwhile by attending the marvellous Straight 8 Industry Shootout.


A ROGUE MOVE FOR LISA GUNNING.

Home is where it's at for Lisa Gunning as she returns to the UK with Rogue Films.


YOOMIN LEE MAKES THE GRADE AT MPC.

MPC have added another canny operator to their midst by signing colourist Yoomin Lee.


IAN ROBERTSON ARRIVES AT TANTRUM.

tantrum's recruitment drive continues to yield results as the company unveil new signing Ian Robertson.


RIC CANTOR IS A FRIEND INDEED.

Friend London have brought experienced comedy director Ric Cantor into the fold as they target a productive second half to 2019.


KODE SIGN SARAH CHATFIELD.

Kode say it is a "sincere pleasure" to welcome Sarah Chatfield to their team of directors.


THOMAS WEBB LOGS INTO MILL+

Experiential artist-cum-director Thomas Webb is the latest to join the digital-savvy roster at Mill+.


REBECCA LUFF JOINS CUT+RUN.

Talented editor Rebecca Luff has crossed Soho to join Cut+Run after a highly successful stint with tenthree.


TANTRUM ENLIST BENNETT JOHNSON AND TOBIAS.

tantrum have bolstered their commercial offering with the double signing of directors Bennett Johnson and Tobias.


CHANNEL 4'S DIVERSITY IN ADVERTISING AWARD RETURNS.

Channel 4's Diversity in Advertising Award is back and this year's theme is how the LGBTQ+ community is represented on our screens.


PARK VILLAGE WELCOME KATIE SWAIN.

Seasoned director-cum-cinematographer Katie Swain has become the latest addition to Park Village's commercial roster.


BIG BUOY UP THEIR CG GAME WITH KRISTAAN CAIN.

Big Buoy's signing spree shows little sign of abating as the post house add CG whizz Kristaan Cain to their ranks.


STEF COLOSI JOINS OKAY STUDIO

Okay Studio have signed colourist Stef Colosi to their roster.


VISION TAP RISING DOP IGOR SMITKA.

Vision's Emerging Talent wing are delighted to announce the signing of Igor Smitka, one of Slovakia's most promising cinematographers.


NO.8 SCRAMBLES INTO EXISTENCE.

The increased ambition and scope of services at Scramble has been signalled by a change of name.


LEMONADE REPS WELCOME FOOD HALL.

Culinary specialists Food Hall have become the latest addition to the roster at Lemonade Reps.


BEN TRICKLEBANK JOINS FURLINED.

Furlined believe their new signing Ben Tricklebank has what it takes to become "one of the greats" as he joins the company's US and UK rosters.


ANNEX FILMS SIGN NADEZNA RADCORE.

Annex Films are pleased to announce the signing of Nadezna Radcore for UK representation.


ACADEMY ARE TWO UP.

Academy have added two new directors to their stable: Luke Davies and Fiona Godivier.


STINK LIKE THE TASTE OF FOODFILM.

DAVID doesn't usually cover porn directors for obvious reasons, but in the case of FoodFilm, we're happy to make an exception.


STACIA AKABA REJOINS BIG BUOY AS EXECUTIVE PRODUCER.

Big Buoy are pleased to announce the return of Stacia Akaba as their new Executive Producer.


OBJECT & ANIMAL UNVEIL ANDREW THOMAS HUANG.

Object & Animal say they have signed a "true polymath director" in the shape of Andrew Thomas Huang.


LUZIAN SCHLATTER JOINS MAD COW FILMS.

Swiss director Luzian Schlatter has joined the fold at Mad Cow Films for commercial representation.


JOE WALTON JOINS WHITEHOUSE POST

Whitehouse Post have bolstered their London roster with the signing of editor Joe Walton.


FIONA MCGEE LANDS AT BOLD.

BOLD's global talent search has led to Australian director Fiona McGee joining their compelling roster.


Stories

David Reviews - Lovely Lenzie Ltd, Woodbourne House, Seven Sisters, Lenzie, G66 3AW. Telephone: +44 141 776 7766. Editor: Jason Stone.