Plenty of Cannes machinations but what about the work?

Just as significant as the start of Cannes Lions week is the recent news that not-universally-popular owner Ascential has bought UK-based data firm WARC for up to £24m. WARC now runs the Effie effectiveness awards, once seen as a rival to Cannes.

So Ascential has made a pretty significant land grab in the changing awards landscape. If Cannes is past its prime – as some people think – then the Effies may take over. Either way Ascential wins.

Possibly the two will be combined. Cannes entries this year are down from around 40,000 to just over 30,000, which can’t all be accounted for by the Publicis pull-out and a (slight) reduction in categories.

Publicis may still win big, of course, thanks to clients and others coughing up entry fees. P&G’s ‘It’s a Tide Ad’ by Publicis-owned Saatchi & Saatchi New York has featured in just about every one of our Top Tips for Cannes. Publicis has just one official entry, a BBH effort in the wake of London’s Grenfell Tower fire disaster.

A good cause admittedly but a cop-out in terms of creativity. But is Cannes really about creativity these days? Or trying to appear on the side of the angels?

A much better effort in this vein is adam&eveDDB’s CALM ‘happening,’ as we seem to call them these days, about male suicides in the UK. This must surely win something big.

The hottest ticket at Cannes will be former WPP boss Sir Martin Sorrell’s sceheduled date with New Yorker writer Ken Auletta on Friday – if it still takes place, of course. When it was announced we were led to believe that Sorrell wouldn’t be discussing the reasons for his departure but that’s become a lot harder as revelations of an alleged visit to a Mayfair brother have emerged (which Sorrell strongly denies). How can this conversation take place without some reference to it? Such allegations will surely have an effect on Sorrell’s new business S4 after all.

Will Sorrell be bold enough to offer an unvarnished account? Or will a lawyer pop up with a data protection red card? This one could go to the wire.

What Cannes needs more than ever are some really creative winners for proper brands, ads that show wit, wisdom and formidable craft skills.

One such and another one of our TTforC popular choices was Nike’s ‘Nothing Beats a Londoner’ from Wieden+Kennedy (below). Will it appeal to a determinedly international jury though?

Let’s hope we’re pleasantly surprised by a vintage Cannes.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.
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