Arati Rao
Jun 21, 2011

Arati's Blog: The mystery of the big yellow cat

The meetings win over the sessions on Day Two of Cannes Lions 2011

Arati's Blog: The mystery of the big yellow cat

One of the journalistic quandaries at conferences like Cannes is how to be in two places at once: at an interesting session, timed precisely at the same time as an interesting meeting.

Yes, I know there are worse quandaries to be in, as occupational ones go.
On Day Two, the meetings won. At an earlyish one with David Mayo, president Ogilvy APAC, we discussed his upcoming session "What It Takes To Be A Brilliant Suit", and the challenges of the job today. He's hoping to find another name for the "Suit" at the end of it, as well.
Had an evening catch-up with Campaign APAC's editorial director Atifa Silk who took me along to meet Microsoft Advertising's Kevin Jennings and Kenneth Andrew, where we discussed Ad:tech Delhi, among other things, and later with R/GA's Bob Greenberg, who spoke about his plans to get into Shanghai or Mumbai at some point. Is it Mumbai or Bombay, he asked me. Only the government calls it Mumbai, I quipped. 
In between, managed to make it to a session by Adobe on advertising and digital publishing. The highlight of the session: the statement "Digital publishing is like Viagra for the magazine industry." The discussion also said the future of advertising in the age of magazines on tablets, would be the fight to be pertinent, with a hybrid of personalisation, connecting with conversations, location-based offers and underwriting or sponsorships (instead of blatant in-your-face advertising).
The first award show for PR, Direct and Promo and Activation Lions started at 7.30pm and the grand auditorium was packed to the rafters. And they move quickly here; no coming on stage for Bronze or Silver winners, so missed seeing the BBDO and Mudra folks collect their Lions. Bravo to them though for starting the count!
So, where does the big yellow cat come into all this?
Right here, outside the venue.
This huge "thing" had people queueing up to take pictures on the golden throne the entire day. Finally, towards the end of the day, I spotted someone at the back who solved the mystery: it's the AKQA Future Lions Awards mascot, a build up for their awards session on Friday. If the new idea is that advertising should intrigue people and thus reel them in, this was gigantic proof of it. 
India spotting: Jishnu Sen who is a first-timer at Cannes too, and later again with the Grey clan of Amit Akali, Malvika Mehra, and Bindu Sethi; BBH India's Raj Kamble split a Coke with me as we chatted about award shows; Bates141's Sonal Dabral who said he was easing himself into the sessions, and Fountainhead's Brian Tellis who's now headed back to India now that the Promo & Activation show is done.
Cannes experience: Every place I ask for directions  is said to be walkable (after I desperately mime "walking" with two fingers). It is, minus a weight-of-the-world-kind of laptop backpack I've chosen to saddle myself with. Note to self: Travel light. But with lots of batteries.
Campaign India

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