Raahil Chopra
Jun 20, 2023

Cannes Lions 2023: ‘Selling property to afford a plane ticket to get to Cannes’

Creative leaders explain how under-represented countries can compete with those with higher budgets at festivals like the Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions 2023: ‘Selling property to afford a plane ticket to get to Cannes’
On day two of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Patrick Scissons, founder and chairperson, Ostrich, Maria Gracia Lotuffo, founder and chief creative officer, MadKind, and Mohammad Akrum Hossain, executive creative director, Asiatic Marketing Communication, discussed how creative leaders in under-represented world markets can compete with those in the likes of New York and London.
Hossain kicked off by talking about the disparity in salary.
“The salary gap is huge, but the possibilities are the same. They (Western markets) can win Lions, and so do we. But the difference comes later. After winning a Lion, those in the likes of London or New York get an automatic raise. We have limited budgets in our countries and don’t demand one and have to wait for it,” he said.
Scissons then spoke about how the cost per Lion acquisition is USD 27,980 for the USA, versus USD 7,980 in Ecuador, the market in which Lotuffo operates.
“We have to be selective with our entries. We have a lot of creative pieces in our country as well, but because of budget constraints, we need to look at head-count of attendees and even less production costs,” she said.
Hossain echoed her viewpoint and said that the agency has a creative council in place to decide which pieces of work make the cut to enter Cannes.
Loffuto explained how clients chop off production budgets, but agencies can’t turn them down, because of the need for the work.
“We had a production budget for a client of USD 29,882. The client’s budget was less than USD 2,800. We had to cut and chop the budget to that and go ahead with the work. We never say no to a client because we need to keep the client. If it wasn’t us, the client would have found someone else to spend those dollars with. When we cut costs, our teams do multiple things at once, to make them work,” she said.
Hossain agreed with Loffuto and said that it was a reality in Bangladesh too. However, he added that lower budgets don’t mean sub-standard work.
“We’ve won Lions with those kinds of budgets too,” he said.
Hossain had worked in advertising for 17 years and won eight Lions before making his maiden appearance in Cannes.
“I got invited as a jury member so I got the festival pass. But I had to sell a property to afford the plane ticket. My motivation was to represent Bangladesh on the global stage and raise the profile of the country in the world,” he said.
Loffuto then mentioned a peculiar problem of working in Ecuador.
“Local clients are scared of extortions. Gang members would reach out to the wealthy and command money for their safety. There’s been a 72% increase in extortions in Ecuador over the last few years. So that results in less PR around the owners and more about the product. The owners are not named in many instances. So agencies are looking to do work outside of the country for this.”
Scissons ended the talk by stating how the ‘underrepresented’ countries can use creativity to benefit them.
“If you live in a country with more problems that need fixing, you have more chances to use creativity to solve them,” he said.
Campaign India

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