Jane Austin at Cannes: what’s wrong with selling and why Arthur’s in a spin

Snapchat’s Ferris wheel gets Arthur Sadoun in a spin

The Snapchat Ferris wheel in front of the Palais this year has made one important French man very, very angry. Ad Age reports that Publicis Groupe boss Arthur Sadoun stated the wheel “symbolises the fact that our companies, the holding companies, have lost their thought leadership in Cannes.”

Sadoun, who is pulling the group’s agencies out of awards shows to save money, is currently dealing with a backlash from creatives who work for him annoyed about the prospect of missing out on awards next year and from people who question why he chose to make the announcement during Cannes week. His reasoning is that he wanted to be able to discuss the move in person with his vast number of employees at the festival. “You don’t think it would have been easier for me to do it from Paris…and not having to confront myself with all of these people?” he said.

Cannes goes on the defensive

Meanwhile, Cannes Lion MD Jose Papa responded to Publicis’ decision to pull out of the festival next year and WPP’s threat to do the same. He told the Drum: “There are lots of misconceptions about the expense of Cannes – one of the most prevalent being that we charge people to speak on stage, which we don’t; or that all the hotels are very expensive, which they’re not.” He’s clearly never paid for a round of drinks at the Carlton.

Pussy gives the Lions a lesson in rioting

It might have been 30 degrees outside but the Palais was full of people wearing woolly balaclavas yesterday afternoon. No, the air conditioning hadn’t gone into overdrive – they were dressed for an afternoon in the charming company of Pussy Riot. The Russian punk band handed the audience some brightly coloured balaclavas and gave them a few lessons in activism and protest. They told the ad industry: “Don’t just tweet. Organise and actually do something.”

Why has ‘selling’ became a dirty word in advertising?

For some reason flogging stuff (ie the whole point of advertising) has become almost a taboo subject in industry circles. A panel at Cannes explored the notion that brands may be getting overly seduced by ‘saving the world’ and ‘doing good’ and asked whether they should just focus on good old fashioned shifting product. Droga5 London’s David Kolbusz, the IPA’s Paul Bainsfair and Cheil’s Malcolm Poynton, were among the panellists taking part in the session titled “Is the Creative Industry Losing its Ability to Sell Stuff?” In the rush to bring about world peace, advertisers shouldn’t lose sight of who they are. Kolbusz said: “Purpose is a good thing but it doesn’t have to be the essence of what your brand projects.”

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About Jane Austin

Jane Austin is the founder and owner of PR agency Persuasion Communications.


  1. Sharon Spielman

    Again – no mention of BBDO winning most awarded network for second year?!

  2. Mentioned today Sharon