Adscam’s George Parker: my Top (agency) Tips for Cannes

In his infinite wisdom, Stephen has once again asked me to give my predictions on who will win the Dylithium Lions at this year’s Festival of so called Creativity in the fleshpots of Cannes. Before jumping into that cesspool of mediocrity, kudos to Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein who are having their four-decade partnership honored with the Cannes’s “Lion of St. Mark” award for meritorious advances in Plumbing and Industrial Roofing. (See reference below)

Couldn’t think of two more deserving blokes… Mind you, they’ll have to mail Jeff’s award as he did say a couple of years ago that he wouldn’t attend Cannes any more ‘cos it was a giant wank. And is more like a plumbers’ or industrial roofing convention, after which he goes home and begins to explain to a friend that there is an amazing new fibreglass insulation technology that will enable us to cost-effectively sheathe surfaces exposed to the sun and make them blah blah blah.

Then he went again last year. But that was to interview Michael Wolfe which really pissed off the Poisoned Dwarf ‘cos he wanted the gig. That’s worth a few mimosas on the Croisette.

Anyway, down to business. I will only talk about TV spots, because all the many other money generating categories have fuck all to do with creativity. Having got that off my chest, after looking through hundreds of possible TV entries, I have come to the conclusion that most of these have fuck all to do with creativity. Therefore, in my usual curmudgeonly manner, I have decided I will merely choose three agencies that in general produce spots that demonstrate creativity and hope that they will carry off a dumpster load of Lions.

Yes, you guessed it… The three agencies are Wieden, Droga5 and Goodby Silverstein and Partners. Like I said. It’s my piece and it’s my curmudgeonly manner. Not to mention that these guys know where my numbered bank account is in Zurich.

Goodby Silverstein and Partners have this thing about animals. Not the soft and cuddly kind that peddle toilet rolls and flog insurance. GS+P animals always have an edge that you can’t quite identify, but you wouldn’t want the Budweiser frogs snuggling on your lap while you chug a six pack, and you would go out of your way to avoid getting into a bout of road rage with the Comcast 10,000 miles per hour Rabbit. That’s why I like their new campaign for Liberty Mutual featuring LiMu the Emu and his partner Doug the bumbling insurance “expert.” It won’t win at Cannes, but I’d buy insurance from an Emu any day. What might win is their epic “Remarkable Journey” spot for the BMW X5 which travels across the country in a straight line. For years absolutely no one has done auto advertising better than these guys.

Droga5 has just been bought by Accenture for zillions of dollars. This means that if he wanted to Dave could now buy Coober Pedy and retire in an opal lined luxury cave to drink “Tinnies” and eat “Snags” forever. He won’t. Cos then he will no longer be part of a company that produces such stunners as “The Last da Vinci.” Yeah, I know it won a Gold Lion last year, But fuck it, I’d award it a Lion every year just to prove that there’s still hope for the ad biz. However, considering this year’s work… Only Droga5 would kill off a spokesperson at the end of a spot. I almost choked on my breakfast beer when I watched this IHOP spot. That takes balls, not just to make it, but to sell it to the client. Yeah, IHOP’s food is shit, but, good luck with that.

Wieden+Kennedy. Well, there’s only one thing to say… The Colin Kaepernick spot for Nike will clean up like gangbusters. To be honest I’ve never been a huge fan of Nike or its advertising. How many ways can you do eight foot tall guys slam dunking basket balls? Plus, Phil Knight has never found a major drug abuser, maid raper, orgiastic hooker organizer or dog fight breeder he wasn’t afraid to sponsor. Hey, nobody’s perfect, but the Kaepernick spot is. It’ll clean up.

Well, that’s it. ‘Till Cannes introduces an Ad Biz blog category.

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About George Parker

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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.