Cannes Lions 2005 was held in London from 19-25 June. The International Advertising Festival was held for the 52nd time this year, and invited 22000 entries from 82 countries, in spite of skyrocketing charges commanded for the entries.

According to the news posted on their website,
“A total of 22,101 entries will be competing at this year’s Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, an overall increase of 18 percent versus last year. There were 6699 entries in the press section, the category with the largest share of entries.”
Broadly, the categories were –
– Media Lions
– Lions Direct
– Press
– Outdoor
– Cyber Lions
– Film
– Radio Lions
– Titanium (Integrated)

Radio Lions and Titanium were the New Sections. Cannes also added a new Section – A design section this time in the Festival.

I do not intend to cover the entire festival as such, but what I want to specifically mention is the winner of the Grand Prix at Cannes – The Honda Grr Commercial – one of the best pieces this year in Animation and sound track. Follow the next entry for more on this.

Apart from this Ad, John Hunt , the President of the Jury, that decided the Winners after going through all the entries in 2 weeks time, said that the Runners up was the Adidas Ad – “Unstoppable” – again Execution being the winner in the Ad.
According to him, the latest Trends in the Advertising world was that “Humor is back, and since the World has become stable now, Advertisers do not have qualms about inserting the “ironic” and the “extremes” levels anymore.

As for India, he said that India will play a much more bigger role in the Advertising world in the times to come, due to
(a) Ease of language,
(b) A large population,
(c) Large proportion of which is the educated lot

This entails a dearth of potential Creative and Innovative ideas in the Market.
In this Festival, India won Silver and 2 Bronze – in the Print and Outdoor media. It had gone to the Festival with a 100-member contingent.

When asked for reasons behind such a dismal performance, Prasoon Joshi, a notable face of Indian advertising, said that Ideas was a problem in this part of the sub-continent. Another weakness was that the culture of India could not be understood by the jury, and most of the Indian Ads are pertinent to the culture of the country, thereby catering to a niche segment, locally.
Incidentally, though Thailand also catered to a niche target, they projected the nuances of their culture, and brought them out pretty well, which connected with the judges. This should give the Indian Admen some food for thought, and a little homework that needs to be done, once they get back home.

Overall, the USP of the Festival was still Networking, with discussions on Global Trends, and discussions pertinent to the Advertising world.

According to a report on Cannes Website, Lachlan Murdoch won the Award of The Cannes Lions Media Person Of The Year. In an address to the professionals, he said that, while professionals concerned themselves with digital versus analogue or content for wireless platforms, “the consumer couldn’t care less. They only care about more compelling content and more convenience.”

In another report on the same site, in a discussion on the Trend in Advertising, Sir Martin Sorrell, one of the notable figures in the industry, said that there were 3 critical things happening in the industry –
(a) The West is increasingly being challenged by the East,
(b) The control is no longer with the ad agency, and it is the consumer who commands the kingship in Advertising !
(c) With the stress on measurability, most part of the organization might not be receptive to it, but more accurate measurements and causal analysis can be done using such deals.
Quintessential attributes for this industry, according to the experts are – “instinct, talent and imagination”

Bottleneck in the “Creativity” roadway that it faces is the requirements of the Clients, and THEIR perception of the Advertising. One of the experts joked: “When I look at a lot of the award-winning campaigns here in Cannes, I think. ‘I wish I’d done that’. Then I think, ‘I wish I had clients who’d let me do that’.”

To add to this, in a report on the Festival, involvement of the Financial and Procurement staff in Advertising is considered an impediment to creativity, wherein the Ideas are quashed and creativity subdued.
This involvement has entailed an objective approach to measuring the ROI from Advertising, and the factors governing it.

According to Keith Reinhard, Chairman of DDB Worldwide, ROI for DDB implied “relevance, originality and impact” for years! But he also accepted that there was more to measuring the ROI than these factors.”The search for a workable ROI formula has instituted a worrying degree of paralysis,” said moderator Michael Lee, IAA’s (International Advertising Association’s) worldwide president and chairman. “Everyone is being sensibly hesitant, but what we need is progress, not paralysis.”

To summarize, it was an enlightening experience for each and everyone who attended it, offering an excellent learning opportunity for the young Advertisers, and sharing of ideas and Trends with Experts from various parts of the globe!
For more, visit their Official WebsiteCannes Lions 2005

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