Cannes, advertising’s Promised Land

Vishal Sagar, Senior Copywriter, Cheil Worldwide SA, reminisces about his first visit to Cannes this year and how it has changed his perception of advertising

July 6, 2012

It won’t be wrong to say that Cannes is advertising’s Promised Land. Every year, the best of the best gather there to celebrate work that falls into just two categories – ‘I wish I would have done that’ and ‘OMG! How can someone think like that?’

Each year Cannes defines the boundaries of advertising. Just to redefine them the next year. May be that’s why Cannes now prefers to be called Cannes International Festival of Creativity. And this shift is clearly visible in the work that gets crowned during the week.

It was my first trip to the Promised Land this year. Thanks to Samsung’s Minus One Project. Cannes is an amazing experience. Everything about the place is inspiring. Work on the exhibit, the speakers and walking-talking industry legends. Like technology, advertising is evolving every second. More than ever, advertising today weaves human stories, emotions, insights and technology to reach out to viewers. And I say viewers because people today are consciously consuming advertising. And they are even co-creating.

The sessions at Cannes are a great place to learn. And they cover a wide spectrum of things. One gets to know right from the basics of thinking ideas to selling them to adapting them to the digital age. The workshops provided the best learning experience by giving a chance to work with people from other countries. It reinforced my belief that we may have different cultural backgrounds but we are not very different. The problems are the same and to an extent, the solutions too. But, only to an extent.

This year, Cannes highlighted that gone are the days when advertising was just limited to creating brands. Today, advertising is saving lives, dethroning dictators, conserving nature, helping humanity fight natural disasters and bringing peace to warring countries.

Admen are donning a new avatar of inventors. They are collaborating with technical experts to create new mediums, new technologies, new gadgets and new ways of engaging viewers. All this and more was there to be discovered at this year’s Cannes Festival.  And I was left with one question: What’s next?

There were many brilliant pieces. But ‘Blood Relations’ really stood out for me. A simple, basic insight transformed into an idea that promises to bring peace to Israel and Palestine someday. That’s how advertising is changing the world.

Click on the image to enlarge.

With a heavy heart and a heavier bag I said adieu to Cannes. The Minus One Project won a Silver Lion for Best use of Integrated Media besides earning two shortlists. And the credit goes to the team that made it possible. Varun Arora, Shiva Kumar, Dinkar Porwal, Kamlesh Jangid, Shubhasis Bhatacharjee, Films Rajendra and many others.

The Silver Lion will sit as an inspiration. And we will try to put a better show at the 60th anniversary of Cannes Lions.


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