It is Friday morning in Cannes and the sun is shining. This would normally be great if I weren’t so bleary eyed from yet another late night. I am too tired even to make that same Malteser joke I have been making in this blog throughout the week. Last night was party night at Cannes. The Ogilvy party, the Shots party, the Velocity party. It was a heaving, thumping mess of groaning plates of canapés, women in strappy heals and hipster Swedes in full beards with slick side partings.
If you were wondering where all the mirror balls went, well I can tell you most of them ended up in Cannes. Remember strobe lights, those grim reminders of 80′s matric dances? Well, they’re all here too. Last night was not a good night to be an epileptic in Cannes. I spoke to a lot of interesting people at these parties, intermittently running into unpleasant fast-talking production people from New York trying to tell you why you really should be producing your animatics with them. I can’t think of many more bizarre scenarios than discussing the intricacies of big budget animatic production with feisty, pushy New York production people to the sound of ghastly eurobeat, while strobe lights beat up on your eyes. So I left.
This morning is different. There is a new cruise ship in the harbour. Little boats shuttle back and forth ferrying the passengers and their credit cards to the nearest branch of Dolce and Gabbana so they can spend 100 000 bucks on another white linen jacket. These people are all deeply tanned, as wealthy people normally are. This is because really rich people generally choose not to experience winter. Instead they inhabit summer, wherever it may be, striding around in their green leather deck shoes and Hermes kaftans like they own the place, which they normally do. Today’s cruise ship is white, of course, and is called ‘The Epic’, which seems a pretty unimaginative name, even for a cruise ship.
Yesterday was Bill Clinton day at Cannes. I was going to make a few cigar jokes but after seeing him speak I was left too admiring to do that. He spoke for an hour or so about the state of the world and what we need to do to fix it. He has to be one of the most brilliant and inspiring people I have ever had the privilege of hearing. One particularly cool thing he said – we are all 99,9% the same, yet the world seems to spend all of its time concentrating its energy on the 0,1 percent that makes us different to each other. Now that may sound trite but he backed it up with some facts about mutual co-operation that really made sense. He left me feeling optimistic and inspired, which was really the point.
Smoky Robinson also talked yesterday, about social media. Now, I never really thought Smoky Robinson and social media belonged in the same sentence, but he made a good fist of it. He didn’t sing, which I was relieved about, not being a huge Smoky Robinson fan. Turns out he has been working with Crispin Porter and Bogusky (yes, I know, that is weird) on a causal marketing social media movement thingy they are going to call Smoke Alarm ( get it?). Good luck to them.
Today we see the film Shortlist. It is my favourite day at Cannes. Holed up in a dark air-conditioned room, I will watch the 500 or so best commercials and films of the year, as decided by the film jury. Also out today is the Branded content and Entertainment Shortlist, Carling Black Label’s last chance at some extra glory. I will keep you all posted. (Editors note, Carling got the shortlist, so are in for a shot for one more Lion).
From my balcony I can see a flag fluttering in the breeze with a Google logo on it. This is the Google HQ, a lovely section of beach where ad people can go to drink free smoothies and ride on various strange watercraft and also hear about how Google will shortly be taking over the world in a kind of benevolent autocracy that will include free smoothies and free wifi everywhere where we will all be governed by Swedish web designers with full beards and slick side partings. Jokes aside, I wonder if that Google flag fluttering over us is not a sign of things as they really might be one day. Could be worse, it already is.
Chris Gotz is executive creative director of Ogilvy Cape Town and chairman of Creative Circle.