Cannes 2013: Underdog's day

By Rashmi Menon , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 25, 2013
The last day of the International Festival of Creativity ended with an entertaining talk by creative heads of boutique agencies from the smaller countries of Hungary, Guatemala and Latvia, who shared their thoughts on 'Being the underdog: Building an identity through creativity'.

While globalisation has brought countries across the world closer and created a world without borders, it has also introduced countries to multiculturalism. Also, the increasingly "glocal" approach resorted by brands and companies means minority cultures and communities have become an important consumer base.

<However, what do smaller markets and their creative agencies feel about being the underdogs? Sergio Alcoccer, president and chief creative officer, LatinWorks, along with Marton Jedlicska, creative director, Kirowski Isobar; Artiz Bermudez, founder, Creative Farm; and Eriks Stendzenieks, founder, chief creative officer, !MOOZ, shared their thoughts on the topic 'Being the underdog: Building an identity through creativity'.

Alcoccer started off by giving an interesting insight about the US, which has become the third largest Latino country (the first two are Brazil and Mexico) in the world. But, unlike the earlier immigrated that the country witnessed, who assimilated and adapted to American culture, the immigrated exhibited, what Alcoccer called, ambi-culturalism - being comfortable living both the cultures at the same time. However, he felt that the Hispianic community was still considered an underdog, the eternal challenger.

This underdog feeling was not just limited to ethnic communities but also countries. Jedlicska, who is from Hungary, said that the advertising industry in his country was in an adolescent stage. The creative talent not only had to grapple with the language issue (according to Jedlicska, Hungarian is a very difficult language), many tried to emulate the trends that did not reflect the local voice and cultural nuances. In spite of this, Jedlicska believed that the pressure would help them do great creative work.

Aritz Bermudez, who runs a boutique creative agency in Guatemala, said that the positive outlook gave birth to great creativity. Being a country that was sandwiched between the shadow of USA in the north and Brazil in the south, he felt their underdog status gave them the freedom to try and fail and try again. And, this was an advantage for all small countries across the world. The country won its first gold in 2012 at the Cannes Lions festival.

The most entertaining talk was that of Eriks Stendzenieks from Latvia, who had the audience in splits, sharing his experience of being from an underdog country. For him, being an underdog was the highest state of position for a dog. On a serious note, however, Stendzenieks said that underdogs could ask inconvenient questions and could get away with it. Some of the other advantages were low expectation, lesser responsibility and lesser bureaucracy. He concluded by saying that if people kept the underdog feeling alive, it would help them and their agencies immensely as it would implore them to constantly strive better.

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