The advertising folk flew into Cannes, the cowboy rode in.
Met Amitabh Bhattacharya at the India party. For those who don't know him, he's usually the Executive Producer with Nomad films, but yesterday he was a cowboy who just rode into town.
His face was weary from the journey, but his eyes were gleaming with delight as his mind still had the ride running on loop. You could almost smell the stories off him. (and no, it's not an euphemism for he needed a shower).
1000 kms in 8 days, that's what he had covered. All the way from Geneva, over the lofty Alps. If we were in the Wild West, I would have tipped my stetson to him. And he would probably acknowledged it with a nod and a slight tip of his bicycle helmet as he tethered his two-wheeled steed. Yup! He cycled all the way. Fighting exhaustion, frost-bite and at the same time helping fight leukemia. He and 30 other advertising and production blokes from around the world as part of the annual Fireflies Tour. Their motto says it all "For those who suffer, we ride." They may not even have a contender at the festival, but in my books they have all won big.
Ok now back to the reason why we flew into Cannes - the festival. Day before, the winners for Radio, Outdoor and Media were announced. India celebrated its first Gold. Lodestar UM with a Media Lion for their "100% recycled newspaper". The Grand Prix went to Tesco subway store. While some of the awesome stuff from other categories like Direct, P&A and Outdoor also won here. For example, the Coke friendship machine, the wwf format, the missing child initiative, Old Spice responses and the Grand Prix winner itself. Moral of the story. Crack a big idea. Execute it with love. Make it even bigger through social idea. And Viola! you have a lion herder.
McCann salvaged a metal for India in radio. A bronze for Onida DVDs. Disappointing for India, but very exciting for radio as a medium. This year there have been some absolutely sparkling uses of radio as a medium. And the best news is that writing is back in a big way. SFX: applause. Would definitely recommend the Ikea, Galderma and Samroc spots to every writer. The
Cine Las Ameicas spot has an absolutely hilarious take. While the spots titled The Code and Noah take the use of radio as a medium to the next level.
Come outdoor. And time for some of those big ideas, I talked about, to return. Coke friendship machine, Santa's forgotten letters, Tesco subway store, Burma human rights; they were back to add more weight to their luggage. The winners were either impeccable in their crafting or generated a lot of conversation. The Samsonite Heaven and Hell, for instance. Heavenly idea. One helluva execution. The piece is actually a photograph. They created each and every piece. Little wonder it walked away with the Press Grand Prix last night. I also loved the Lego ads. It's a completely new perspective to the imagine idea. Honest tea made an appearance as well. Can't remember the number of people I had shown it to when I first found it online.
Last night was the ceremony for Design, Press,and Cyber. India found its second gold in design. Congrats Out-of-the-box. The craft this year is stunning. And the scale colossal. My favorites being the BMW typography and Mr Lee -the tailor. The Grand Prix was for the design of the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Was a little skeptical when I heard the winner, but was absolutely mesmerised when I saw the entry. A love child born out of the threesome of design, architecture and digital. Now try being proactive with that. (this one is an euphemism)
Press saw a South American assault. My favorites being the Billboard typography from Brazil and the Pictionary ads from Malaysia. Both of these are also great examples of insightful advertising. You'll relate to each and every alphabet of the typography depending on which artist you relate to. While the pictionary one is particularly insightful to me. Have had numerous pictionary sessions with my art partner where his intricate art direction has cost us the game. Not a particularly great show for india here. The notable wins being McCann and Ogilvy's silvers.
Then came cyber. And everything else was forgotten. The entries were marrying online, offline, reality, virtuality, design, idea, execution, you-name-it in every possible way. India sure has a lot of catching up to do. Even more so, since Google is not just a communication vehicle in this category, it's competition as well. Both as a client and as creators. Don't miss the Pay-by-tweets and the Wall of Fame entries.
But the most surprising winner of the night was Brazilian football. They beat their arch rivals Argentina in a game of advertising beach football. Am sure the popularity of the Argentinian ad industry just took a big beating back home. It's going to take a lot of Grand Prixs to forget this one.