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George Parker: my Top Tips for Cannes – I’m with Jeff Goodby on this…

In his infinite wisdom, Stephen has asked me to forecast this year’s Cannes winners. Not all of them, I hasten to add, as there are now more categories than there are fleas on my dog. So I shall concentrate on the Kryptonite, Dilithium and Tripe & Onion Lions.

However, as the entry fees are equal to the GDP of a small African nation, does this mean, considering the state of the Brazilian economy, that we can expect fewer fake ads from the land of the guaranteed-to-be-disastrous 2016 Olympics? Not to worry, with the never ending proliferation of award shows you are sure to find a niche category for your “Save the Wigan Cockroach” campaign.

Personally, I’m with Jeff Goodby who wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal explaining that the 2015 Cannes Festival would be his last. For a guy who has won more awards, sat on more juries, and even chaired them, than anybody still standing upright, this is a jaw dropping declaration. But one that I wholeheartedly agree with. To find out why, read the whole piece… Here’s a taster… “Nowadays, it is more like a plumbers’ or industrial roofing convention, after which I go home and begin to explain to a friend that there is an amazing new fiberglass insulation technology that will enable us to cost-effectively sheathe surfaces exposed to the sun and make them blah blah blah can I get you another drink?” Which if you are buying beverages for you and your “companion” on the Croisette at two in the morning, will cost you the equivalent of the GDP of a small African nation.

OK, enough of my pontificating about how award shows in general and Cannes in particular has become a giant wankfest. Remember, I once described the 4A’s conference as a giant wankfest. They invited me to be a speaker the following year (below). Does this mean I’ll be a judge at next year’s Cannes? As Zippy the Pinhead would say… Nahhh, no fucking chance! OK, let’s get on to the actual work. Here’s my forecast for the top 2016 TV ad campaign winners… Note: I only count TV as the last vestige of what used to be considered advertising. All the other shit we are subjected to these days is just noise, most of which is ineffectual, and if anyone tries to convince you otherwise, they are a douchenozzle.

Nike: Runs a ten year old campaign featuring Michael Jordan pimping the Michael Jordan Millennial Mark XXX, $500 basketball shoe. No one realizes it’s a ten year old spot, as every basketball shoe spot from Wieden + Kennedy looks like every other basketball spot they’ve ever shot. Which means I am pretty sure that for the next ten years we can look forward to Kobe Bryant re-runs.

(Doubt this is the right one. But George says it doesn’t matter ‘cos they’re all the same).

Coke: Colorizes an old Don Draper commercial from a hundred years ago that features a bunch of out of work bit part players supposedly standing on hill in Italy. But hey, I don’t see the Coliseum, or the leaning Tower of Pisa, or anything remotely Italian. You just know they shot it on a hill down at Big Sur during a break from shooting car commercials. All the actors appear to suffer from severe arthritis caused by holding the Coke bottles in a completely unnatural way to avoid covering the label. Anyway the singers suck so bad they would probably win the Eurovision Song Contest. Go Albania!

IBM: Does a tautological “Homage” to Apple’s 1984 spot that launched the Mac back in the Stone Age. Featuring “Rid” and shot by his son, the world famous director has a conversation with “Watson” about artificial intelligence (‘cos that’s what Watson is all about.) After telling “Watson” to avoid world domination, he leaves, omitting to tell him that he’s working on a follow up to Kubrick’s 2001 in which the Alien eats HAL. Just kidding. However, unlike 1984, this one has been run to death and masturbated on social media ‘til it went blind. Still, you have to admire the balls of Ogilvy to persuade Scott to do an IBM commercial. Must have trousered a fortune!

Finally, if all else fails, check out the Cannes Lions Grand Prix Generator… Sent to me a year or so ago by Ollie + Josie, a UK creative team who appear to live in a dog kennel. These brilliant young fuckers have created the ultimate way to create truly cringeworthy stuff. It’s brilliant.

And on a final note… Where the fuck is Bill Evans when you need him?

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About George Parker

George Parker has spent 40 years on Madison Avenue. He’s won Lions, CLIOs, EFFIES, and the David Ogilvy Award.
His blog is adscam.typepad.com, which is required reading for those looking for a gnarly view of the world’s second oldest profession.” His latest book, Confessions of a Mad Man, makes the TV show Mad Men look like Sesame Street.
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