I have many meetings lined up all day and almost feel guilty about not being at the press centre by 9 am, standard reporting time for all shortlist/winner announcements. Today there is a press conference announcing the Cyber, Press and Design categories at 10 am. I am late for the other two PCs, but make it in time for the Design jury one. I have an early morning meeting that gets delayed. Personal assistants don’t seem to work very well in Cannes for some reason, probably suffering late nights at the Gutter Bar as well. I haven’t slept a wink, having sped off to Gutter Bar last night after the Opening Gala. No live band this time, though there seemed to be a bunch in a corner, trying to look like they were singing. Cheesy 80s songs interspersed with some good music, it’s a mash up but one that you get used to after some time.
I have my first hearty breakfast since I dropped anchor in the south of France. Ham omelette, espresso and some salad. The omelette's greasy, just the way I like it.
Spot Piyush and a hatted Nakul Chopra (the latter landed slightly later than everybody else) in a café opposite the Palais. O&M’s Rajiv Rao is also sitting at the table, engrossed in conversation. Spot Sonal Dabral in orange and white printed shorts preoccupied on the phone .
I bump into Amsterdam Worldwide’s Brian Elliot in the exhibition section, he has landed a few hours ago and is curious to see the quality of work on display. I catch up with him for coffee at a café outside. The coffee is not too good, but the conversation is interesting and moves back and forth between advertising, independents, Jeremy Clarkson, Jet Airways’ international flights as India’s best kept secret. (I remind him how it was like that, when they were new in India) and Russia as a market.
I am meeting my Campaign UK colleagues including Claire Beale, the editor, so things are busy post lunch. They introduce me to AKQA’s CEO Tom Bedecarre, who is also in Cannes and a little nervous about the results of the Cyber Lions awards, where he is keeping his fingers crossed for his agency’s entries. It’s an informal chat, where Bedecarre talks about how he dislikes being classified into merely a ‘digital marketing’ agency, when there is so much they do beyond that. He touches upon India and the way agency structures would evolve in the future.
After Bedecarre, it’s some more meetings and then back to the Palais. As I walk back, I spot Sir Martin Sorrell walking on the street, accompanied by his assistant and can’t resist the chance to say Hello. He politely shakes my hand and is obviously more than a little taken aback at being suddenly accosted by a female journalist on the road.
In keeping with the tone of this year’s festival, the India party is decidedly subdued compared to last year. Pradeep Guha, Bhaskar Das, Sujoy Ghosh, Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, Joy Chakravarti, Prakash Varma, Sneha Iype, Sujata Guha Keshavan, Meera Sharath Chandra, Prema Sagar, Atul Nath, Namit Malhotra, Chax, Giri, Ashish Kazanchi, Prasanna Sankhe, Senthil Kumar, Tista Sen, Raj Kurup, Bipin Pandit, Vikram Gaekwad were some of the Indian adfolks sighted at the party.
It's late and, thankfully, tomorrow seems to be an easier day. I'm off for the night.