As weary delegates head home to London after another year in which the British ad industry again failed to shine at Cannes, a period of self-analysis disguised as self-flagellation looks on the cards.
As ever, this will be preceded by the search for excuses. Among the likely contenders are a few of the sour-grape variety. These include accusations of bloc voting, particularly by South American jurors (although this doesn’t explain why the US did well). The S-word (scam ads) may figure, although there seems no evidence this year of any malpractice, beyond the suggestion that many developing world agencies ‘invest’ in creating work specifically designed to win awards.
If there were any highlights, they came in the CyberLions category, where the UK took home three golds (although not the big prizes) and in the newly-launched Effectiveness category where Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO won the Grand Prix for its work for Walkers, a potato crisp brand owned by PepsiCo.
But that will be small beer to an advertising community that has considered itself the world leader in creativity – evidenced by years of success at Cannes.
Now it has to come to terms with the fact that the action is elsewhere – certainly in Latin America, and the US, which looks to have rediscovered its creative mojo, and to a lesser extent Asia.
Let’s just hope that, unlike English football, the London ad industry doesn’t spend the next 45 years living in the past.
Lawyers’ bonanza ahead
The Olympics may be 13 months away, but the lawyers are already rubbing their hands and sharpening their quill pens at the prospect of lucrative court action between LOCOG, the London Olympics Organising Committee, which is drawing up guidelines to protect the millions invested by sponsors, and the cheeky non-sponsors planning some ambush marketing.
Critics say LOCOG rules will be too draconian and prevent freedom of commercial speech – of the kind attempted by Dutch beer brand Bavaria which smuggled hundreds of fetchingly blonde ‘brand ambassadors’ into the World Cup last year. Its defenders say LOCOG has a moral and commercial duty to its sponsors, all of whom have spent millions for the right to be associated with London 2012, and unless it offers them robust legal protection risks undermining the appetite of future sponsors.
First in the dock (informally, not literally – yet) is Honda, which has recruited four potential British Olympians to its ‘Power of Dreams’ campaign (www.honda.co.uk/powerofdreamsteam), where visitors can see how each (kindly given a free Honda car) progress in their bids to be selected. Honda claims that the idea is just another iteration of its long-running ‘dreams’ campaign; LOCOG meanwhile, no doubt prompted by official car category sponsor BMW, is, as they say in crime circles, investigating.
Campaign India – 100 not out
This issue marks Campaign India’s 100th, a small – but not insignificant – milestone on the way, we hope, to many more.
It’s larger than normal and, to celebrate, we’re offering you a special focus on Cannes, not just the Indian story there but some valuable global perspectives too.
And, now as Test batsmen building an innings say, for the next 50.
Dominic Mills is editorial director of Haymarket Business Media, publishers of Campaign India, and a former editor of Campaign UK.