I run an agency, but I am not writing this from Cannes. Rather, I am writing it from a desk filled with more coffee mug stains on spreadsheets than I’d care to admit. If you are reading this, you are likely not in Cannes either.
What is wrong with us? So many others are clearly favoring rosé, partying in pink, chartering colorful yachts, rubbing elbows with Kardashians, taste-testing chocolates, celebrating their wins at the Palais or their losses at the Gutter Bar.
Many see it as the industry’s finest moment. I see it as a reflection of our worst. Why? Can’t we see that the spotlight that’s shining on us as we celebrate the grandeur of our existence and self-importance may be exactly why the agency business continues to be forever fighting for the trust it craves?
Setting the record straight (ahead of the criticism), let me clearly state that I love creativity. I love expression. I love the power advertising can have on trends, society and the business community. And I wholeheartedly support big ideas. Great ads have helped me make choices on what to buy, but still other ads have helped me make choices about who I am. I get it.
But at the same time, what I get more is that advertising has a responsibility to drive business growth above all else.
I am not advocating against awards. I am simply suggesting that it should not have to come with an in-your-face Côte d’Azur orgy that is projected to cost well over (hold on to your chapeaus) $200,000,000. Yup. 200. Million. Dollars.
Maybe it is because we focus on retail. Maybe it is because we have a slightly unhealthy paranoia about comp sales. But the party is out of control. Because every day matters just too damned much when you are fighting for market share. Too much focus on output without enough respect for outcome is not good for any business – brands or agencies.
So, to the sunbathers, I see you. You are indeed beautiful. You are having fun. But to see one more picture… I Cannes not.