R Gowthaman
Jul 03, 2012

Cannes we, the storytellers, tell the India story?

R Gowthaman, chief executive officer, South and Southeast Asia, Mindshare

Cannes we, the storytellers, tell the India story?

Cannes is no longer just about celebrating and awarding creativity. It has quietly and surely metamorphed into a festival where marketing, advertising and technology companies come together to showcase their best work from across the world.  Across the event this year, almost all 150+ sessions talked about digital, consumer engagement, activation; nearly 75 about mobile; and more than 50 about the collaborated and connected world of this business of marketing!
As someone mentioned, Cannes is an organised cocktail of chaos! There were over 10,000 delegates this year. The main ballroom is capable of seating only 2,500. Even if one assumes that all the other halls and film screening sessions are full, we still have at the least 1,000 delegates having wine at 10 am at the nearby bar! At Cannes, you choose what you want to do!

Although one does see a plateauing of delegates and the energy levels towards the middle of the week at the sessions, it was still a cocktail of chaos with so many sessions to choose from. Thanks to the brilliant app - Cannes - I could literally schedule the sessions of my choice, lock into my calendar and go around the sessions like as if I was studying in a residential college… Yup, there was so much to learn!

Of course, I missed some sessions on a couple of days as we had our own internal meetings and press conferences. It was indeed a great week for Mindshare, for we launched a book by Fredrik Haren on Globalisation, announced two new products - CORE and our Google-Mobile JV - to the international media. We had exclusive demonstrations of our CORE product and a few quiet drinks with our clients as well. It was a brilliant effort from our worldwide team at London!

I found time to catch up with my friends from India on all the evenings at the Gutter Bar - till 4 am! Not to forget the much awaited and talked about ‘India party’ by The Times of India. After having salads, paninis and pizzas, one was definitely dying for a mouthwatering butter chicken with some DJs playing Bollywood music. It sure was a night to remember! And I believe the food comes from a nearby town, Nice. Thank you… It was delicious!

On a serious note, Cannes is expensive, especially if you have to multiply by 56 INR to a Dollar! Unless and until you have a serious plan for engagement, an active agenda to drive and an urge to learn what is happening across the globe, don’t bother going to Cannes. You can pick all the material from a friend who does - hopefully, s/he should have goody bagged all the presentations into that app I mentioned earlier.

For all the reasons I have mentioned above, I would definitely urge the media fraternity to consider going to Cannes in a structured manner. Especially when our business itself is metamorphing across activation, social, engagement, data and technology. Cannes will provide a glimpse of what’s in store for us when our 3G becomes real 3G, when our broadband becomes real broadband, and when our corporations go global. But hey, who else in the world is still growing? Might as well get ready for the future, slowly but steadily.

On another serious note, I was quite saddened with our performance at the awards, which is one of the many attractions at Cannes. Unlike Latin America which has gotten its act right, we still haven’t figured how to present work rooted in our culture to a global audience. Though I agree with Balki that we are our own jury, I would also like to believe that Cannes is a golden opportunity for India to show to the world that we are the original story tellers… Not in the Slumdog way, but in a way we are known to tell stories… Mythically!

Campaign India

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