On Saturday night the curtains came down on the 60th Cannes festival of creativity.
The final awards night as expected, had the Grand Audi packed to the rafters with huge queues outside the Palais waiting patiently for over two hours before the gates opened.
As we were seated, a pleasant surprise awaited the audience. The organisers had looped previous Film Grand Prix winners in a show reel that was quite nice, including the amusing 1954 Grand Prix winner for Chlorodont, amongst the more recent and popular winners.
The only trouble was that if you were in the auditorium an hour prior to the show, you would have probably watched the spool five times over... which soon became quite irritating. I wish they had looped at least 20 more winners, which would have made the wait more worthwhile.
The Film and Film Craft categories drew the biggest applause as always, and I personally thought every Film Craft Gold was a gem and a cut above.
No surprises in WPP and Ogilvy winning the Holding Company and Network of the Year, though the margin of victory for Ogilvy as a network was over a 1,000 points... which was commendable by any standards.
Ogilvy Brasil played a huge role in that success, and my congratulations goes out to my friend and fellow juror last year Anselmo Ramos, who is the head of the San Paulo office. A thorough gentleman and a great leader to boot as well; and in my judgement Anselmo will be the hottest creative professional in the world in the next five to seven years.
Going by standards or precedents... the 'Dumb ways to Die' campaign was predicted to be a winner by the pundits even before we got to Cannes, but I don't think anyone in their wildest imagination, would have expected five Grand Prix, 18 Golds, three Silvers and two Bronzes, which makes it the most awarded ever... in the history of the Cannes Lions.
India added a Silver and a Bronze in the Film Craft category on the final day to take our national haul to 34 Lions! (including the one for Lifebuoy). Our best ever too... and a number that I hope will be beaten quickly.
On the penultimate day everyone, myself included, made a beeline to listen to what the two living legends George Lois and Lee Clow, had to say in a candid tete a tete.
Most people in the audience hung on to their every word and it was a pity that the 45 minutes flew so quickly, just when they were getting into a rhythm.
"The artist in the art director today, hasn't truly discovered the power of technology and what it can do for him," echoed George Lois when asked what ails the young art person in the agency today.
Lee Clow was the humbler and softer of the two, and didn't use the lively epithets that George subjected the audience with. He did not need to... he is the perfectionist ... and you can see why Steve Jobs trusted him with his life.
Lee closed with a first peek into his new film for 'Conservation International' with an incredible voice over from Harrison Ford. Do get to see it when you can.
I was equally impressed with Muhtar Kent (chairman and CEO of the Coca Cola company) in the Cannes debate, with Sir Martin Sorrell .
Muhtar spoke eloquently on a range of issues... from how important USA's immigration strategy is, for the growth of that country... to how important it was to have people like Warren Buffet as shareholders in the Coca Cola Company. People like him who believed long term in great brands.
"I want my agencies to have a better understanding of our business, our stakeholders, and to act quickly on those ideas and solutions," he urged his agency partners across the world.
He went on to say... that half the hospital beds occupied around the world, are due to the ailments caused by the lack of potable drinking water and demonstrated Coke's intentions to play a part in ending this malaise.
I am writing this blog on the flight back from Munich to Mumbai, and there are, quite a few journalists from India on board as well.
After lunch was served, one of then popped by and asked me, what were my top 10 highlights at Cannes this year.
I don't want to be a bitch, but the lack of sleep for seven days doesn't permit me to write another article... so here goes, and not in any order:
- Dumb ways to die dumbed us all.
- The cool Coke bottle was really cool.
- The parties were longer and the skirts definitely shorter.
- The Gutter Bar is losing it.
- Dove clearly showed us more Love.
- Killer ants won a Grand Prix - being a nature lover that just killed it for me.
- India won 34 Lions and we were genuinely happy.
- I sat in the Mayors Box with the 16 Jury Presidents - Wow!
- Lowe India entered Lifebuoy through their London office???
- Even if I didn't get to go on stage ... my Indian Flag did (via Paddy).
Touchdown in three hours, but I do want to watch ' The Dark Knight' again.
Pratap Bose is COO at DDB Mudra Group. The views expressed are the author's independent views as an ad professional and do not reflect the organisation's viewpoint.