No, Cannes Should Not Be Canned

With Cannes Lions a week away, the usual debate surrounding the merits of the festival are making their annual appearances. The latest in the annual salvo of discontent comes from Avi Dan who, writing for Forbes, asks: "Should Cannes Be Canned?" Cute, Avi. Cute. It's the usual tripe about how the awards focus too much on creativity and not enough on results and how Cannes "diverts attention from servicing the clients and building strong brands and, instead, much too often it’s about self-importance." Well, of course it's about self-importance, Avi. Where else do you think the industry's creative babies are going to to get a pat on the back and a new binky to place in their crib? Certainly not from their clients who make it their business to dumb down and kill every great idea with CYA committee-led approval processes. As long as awards are offered and as long as agencies can afford the entry fees and as long as creative egos need to be stroked, Cannes ain't getting canned.

This past weekend, Arnold Worldwide won an Emmy for its work on the introduction to the Boston Bruins' "Behind the B" show at the Boston/New England chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences on Saturday, June 7. Produced by Travis Robertson and Greg Almeida of Arnold Worldwide and the Bruins Digital Entertainment Network, the “Behind the B” show intro was nominated in the Musical Composition and Arrangement category. The intro was created using still photography and then converted to a grainy/gray scale in order to create a raw look. Each photograph was treated with a combination of 2D, 3D, and After Effects Parallax to create moments that appeared to be frozen in time. 

Agencies go to Cannes all the time. It's not news. But one agency, 123w.ca, is really, really excited to be going. And well they should be. The agency was founded and launched just one year ago in a suburban Vancouver garage. They then moved to office space in an industrial laundry facility, seemingly for the low rent. They've done work for 7-Eleven and Mercedes and have no problem tapping talent to help create the agency's gloriously kooky Web site. The agency is out with a video it will use to introduce itself during an appearance it will make in Cannes next week. 

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  • Fuel Interactive Re-Brands to Fuel Because, Well, Typing Two Words Took Too Long

    The agency formerly known as Fuel Interactive, not to be confused with Fuel Industries -- oh wait, they changed their name too -- has changed their name to, simply, Fuel. Why? Well, as the press release says, "to better reflect the effect the addition of their capabilities has on a client's business." Okay...so the agency now just fuels brands? But not interactively? Wait, is there still such a thing as non-interactive marketing? I'm confused.

    Maybe Fuel CEO Stuart Butler can explain more succinctly. He says: “It’s been a period of unprecedented growth for us here at Fuel. With these changes came a fundamental shift in our focus and how we approached solving problems for our clients. We found that our old name no longer captured the essence -- the spirit and energy -- we are looking to bring to the market. We needed something that reflected what we really are, what we really do for our customers.”

    Right. Because no other agency on the planet fuels growth for their clients, right? I think everyone in the agency just got tired of typing Fuel Interactive all the time. Now they can just type Fuel. Because, you know, shorter is always better.

    In any case, they agency is excited about the change. Butler adds: “The rebranding has ignited us to reinvent the way that the hotel and travel industry does marketing. Our services make hotel marketing simple. And our new logo, new Web site and tagline provide a new feel and energy that brings us to an entirely new level of drive.”
  • New Cannes Glass Lion to Eradicate Boobs, Booty And Dumb Dads From Advertising

    As if there weren't already enough Cannes Lions awards to suck the ad world dry with entry fees, now there's another one. Cannes has introduced the Glass Lion to honor work that shatters gender stereotypes. The organization notes the award "specifically recognizes work that challenges gender bias and shatters stereotypical images of men and women which remain rooted in marketing."

    It would seem the aim of the new award is to root out sexism, misogyny, misandry and all other forms of gender stereotyping from advertising. What a bummer. I'm going to miss those Carl's Jr. ads. Okay, kidding. Well, maybe not completely.

    Anyway, Cannes has brought in the master of stereotype eradication to head up the Glass Lion Jury. Founder and CEO of IfWeRanTheWorld, MakeLoveNotPorn and former founder of BBH New York Cindy Gallop will head the jury. Gallop is a well-known proponent of proper gender representation in advertising.

    Of the award category, Gallop says, “I couldn't be more thrilled about the introduction of the Glass Lion, which demonstrates Cannes Lions' commitment to ensuring that both our industry and the work we create not only more accurately reflects the world around us, but actively changes it for the better. I am honored to be Jury President, and look forward, together with the jury, to celebrating work that will set the gold standard for creative and sociocultural change."

    Now even though Cannes Lions may never stop bleeding the industry dry with its entry fees, the organization will allocate all the Glass Lion entry fee proceeds into programming that promotes a more gender-neutral media landscape.
  • This Director Of Earned Media Wants To Be Ace Ventura Pet Detective

    While every morning she's grateful her clients haven't become part of some social media disaster and Twitter is her go to outlet for news, Huge (no, she isn't huge -- that's the name of the agency) Director of Earned Media Alyssa Galella says that if she weren't working at Huge, she'd love to be "a detective. Or work in an animal shelter. I would basically be Ace Ventura, Pet Detective."

    That's an interesting goal for a woman who was recently named one of PR Week's Innovation 50 or who accomplished a killer social media stunt by sending 99 boxes of Cap'N Crunch cereal to Jay-Z who later mentioned the stunt on the radio. Of course, yes -- she's just kidding, but Ace Ventura who certainly was a character. And I like people who aspire to be interesting characters.

    But what's most interesting about Galella, who is far from being an old timer, is her wise view of social media today. She says, "There's no longer a dividing line between 'media' and 'social media.' You need to be fluent in both traditional media relations and social media to do your job most effectively. Most of what I've learned hasn't been on the clock, either -- take the initiative to read a ton, be active on social media, attend events, and take classes you're interested in." You know -- become educated in the ways of life. 

    Thank God. Someone who doesn't think Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are the only valid forms of media in existence.

  • Havas CEO Yannick Bollore Keynote At MIPTV To Explore Shifting Tides of TV In The Digital Age

    So MIPTV -- a conference that takes place in Cannes and explores the production and distribution of TV, film and digital content -- is right around the corner. It's not Cannes Lions and it's not necessarily an ad conference, but as TV proper continues to die and "content" reigns supreme, the world of content production and advertising continue to blur.

    Havas CEO Yannick Bollore will deliver a keynote entitled "Content Redefined" on Tuesday, April 14 at 12:10 p.m. in the Grand Auditorium of the Palais des Festivals. Bollore will explore the future of TV, but since everyone thinks TV is dead, he will really be exploring the shifting tides of content and the future of media and entertainment.

    Of his keynote and content, Bollore said: “The market is at a turning point. On the one hand, some business models in the industry are being seriously disrupted and more will follow. But on the other hand, consumers have never been thirstier for content than today. It is a great time to be a storyteller."
  • Tumblr Site Says 'Phuck You' to Photography Reps

    If you're on the creative side of the ad agency business, you are quite familiar with the barrage of emails from photo reps that land in your inbox on a daily basis. In fact one agency claims its art directors receive over 100 emails each and every day from photo reps. And it was this little data point that sparked action.

    Enter Phuck You Photo Reps, a Tumblr site designed to shame photo reps out of art directors' inboxes once and for all. The site is a collection of emails from photo reps and everyone is encouraged to contribute the emails they have received. 

    The site is a collection of what you'd expect, fluffy puffy emails pontificating about the balance of light and the magic of some Joe Photographer. Check out the insanity and contribute your own. 
  • Lowe Lintas India Wins Warc 100 Agency Ranking

    The Warc 100, an annual list of the best agencies based on an analysis of winning campaigns across 87 different award events or competitions, has named Lowe Lintas India the number one agency on its 2015 list. The agency scored 213 points and was closely followed by AMV BBDO with 191 and Colenso BBDO with 148.

    Of the recognition, Lowe Lintas India CEO Joseph George said: "We have had a terrific run on creative effectiveness this year across the globe; and all the accolades have further reinforced our belief in the type of work we want to do and believe in."

    Chicago's Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago was named top media agency, followed by PHD Mumbai. 360i New York was named top digital agency with R/GA New York taking second place.

    The Warc 100 is a ranking of top marketing campaigns and companies that the organization says is based on their performance in effectiveness and strategy competitions. The organization does not disclose the competitions that it uses to devise the ranking.

  • This Ad Contest Could Get You A Free Trip to Cannes. Just Don't Tell Your Boss

    Here's a semi-hilarious promotion for Canada's National Advertising Challenge that brings to light an all too prevalent problem in the ad industry -- an overzealous focus on awards. But the promotion promotes just that -- an overzealous focus on awards, and in this case, awards for non-client ads developed simply to win those awards.

    Yes, this is what you brands are paying for. Because you know the creatives in the agency you've hired are going to be doing this work in the office, conceivably on your dime. But, hey, when you dangle the chance to win a trip to Cannes as the prize for this contest, you're going to have creative salivating like dogs in heat.

    Of the Challenge, NAC Marketing and Communications Manager Ellie Metrick said: "We have big aspirations for the NAC, but we were facing a serious comprehension issue within the creative community. This year's online video goes a long way in explaining that we offer creatives an opportunity to do original work in exchange for a chance to go to Cannes."

    But because I know all you creatives are just jonesing for this, the briefs go live March 2 and the work must be completed by March 30.
  • Havas Chicago Ignores Disastrous Effects of Open Office Space, Spends $10 Million Creating One

    Clearly Havas Chicago hasn't been paying attention to recent research that found open office space to be decidedly less productive than that of the old school office. The agency recently completed a $10 million renovation of its 81,000-square-foot River North office space transforming two floors of office space into a wide open, unproductive free-for-all.

    And get this. The agency used to occupy three floors. Now it occupies two. They say that's because the new office design uses space more efficiently. Translated into English, that means stuffing the same amount of bodies into a smaller space to save money.

    The new design has done away with all offices and added all the usual distracting crap you'd expect to see in an advertising agency: graffiti, a soda fountain and a bubble hockey table. They've even added bicycle racks and a "town hall" meeting area with bleachers. Oh, and they've given the new space a cute new name; Havas Village. Because yeah -- it takes a village to raise children and, well, that's pretty much what ad agency people are; spoiled little brats who prefer a playpen instead of an office in which to "work."

    Okay, that's harsh, but I can say that because I've been there. 

    Of the new space, Havas Chicago CEO Paul Marobella said: "The big part of this space, outside of how cool it is, is that it's really built for utility and built for a purpose. Creative, media, strategy and account all sit together, organized by account. What's different about us is we can make a decision on Monday and it will be implemented by Friday."

    Oh, really? How is making a decision on Monday and implementing it on Friday any different than any other agency that decides to do that?
  • Ad Man Offers Advice to Adults In Agencies Who Act Like Children

    It's really kind of strange -- and, well, depressing -- that actual adults with actual jobs in actual ad agencies that are actual businesses that, you know, are run by actual adults actually need advice like this, but apparently this is the case.

    Penning a piece for The Chattanoogan (what the hell kind of name for a news outlet is that?), Connect Marketing Head Honcho Clint Powell has some advice that really shouldn't be the kind of advice that actual adults need. Kids, maybe, but actual adults? No. In any event, he wrote the piece and if you've worked in the ad business for any length of time, you know full well there are, unfortunately, plenty of people who need this advice.

    His advice? Knowing when to say things clearly and in a way that doesn't waste other people's time nor make you end up looking like a fool. He offers up four things that are perfectly okay to say but for some reason, people are too scared to say them. They are "I am sorry," "I can not do that," "I don't know" and "Let's be clear." You can read his whole article for the details but, seriously, you really shouldn't have to. 

  • Jordan Zimmerman's Muscles Win Him Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness Accounts

    Have you seen Jordan Zimmerman's biceps? The man is ripped. Ripped, I tell you! And here I struggle to do 5 sets of clean and jerks at 85 pounds in CrossFit class! Now, whether or not Zimmerman's muscles had anything to do with the fact that he just snagged an interesting assignment -- without a pitch -- from muscle magazine-heavy publisher American Media is unclear. What is clear is that the win would appear to be a perfect match for the agency.

    Zimmerman's agency, Zimmerman Advertising, won't be doing ads for the magazines, though. The agency will work with American Media to explore partnerships with other entities such as the National Basketball Association All-Star event AMI sponsored with Macy's a couple weeks ago. 

    The agency will take a close look at events like this and others to determine appropriate fits that match well with AMI titles which include Men's Fitness, Muscle & Fitness, and Flex as well as National Enquirer, Star and OK. 

    Of selecting Zimmerman, American Media CEO David Pecker said he sought and agency that "reflects the aggressive growth strategy of AMI and has a proven track record of driving growth in multiple sectors and is a true strategic partner."
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