If you are a pilgrim associated in advertising and marketing, there are two holy places that one must visit. One is Madison Avenue and the other is Cannes Lions. Having been to Mad. Ave. nearly a decade ago, I longed to tick the other box as well. But that was to happen only in 2017. As a first-timer at the Cannes Lions, I was pretty anxious.
A long queue at the security and immigration in Munich airport sent me into panic mode. My connecting flight to Nice was to leave in a short while. I was assured that the queue would clear out soon and I would get to my flight in time. Even though, I had to cross more hurdles. To reach the connecting flight to Nice, one had to walk a couple of levels down and take a train to the adjoining terminal. In a new place, that could be a daunting task. Yes, I reached exactly on time for boarding. The Germans seemed to work in clockwork precision.
It was on the flight to Nice, that I had my first encounter with the Indian delegation going to Cannes. Though, I am told that the strength has been consistently coming down over the years. It was heartening to see the young and ‘famous’ from Famous Innovations seated right next to me.
In their early-mid twenties, Mithila and Nishad were already on their second visit to Cannes. They have been winners of the Young Lions competition for two years on the trot. Partly thanks to them, I could find my way to the hotel in Cannes.
There are other Indian youngsters I would run into soon. A promising young gentleman from Dentsu Aegis Network, a young lady planner, who I am told is a bright star, from Leo Burnett.
That for me, was an encouraging scene, even in these difficult times. While the number of entries that agencies send to Cannes for the awards is growing, at the same time, agencies are drastically cutting down on the number of people they send to Cannes.
Hence, it was nice to see some agencies not leaving the young back at home. As a senior executive from Leo Burnett mentioned, they were even willing to travel in economy class to get a few youngsters accommodated within their travel budget. One big ‘hurray’ to that. Or as the French would say, “hourra”.
(Prasad Sangameshwaran is the managing editor at Campaign India.)