With the kickoff to this year's Cannes International Advertising Festival just days away, the excitement within the local advertising fraternity is mounting. Almost everywhere - and most markedly in creative circles - the Festival's outcome is being debated. Things like will Fox Sports do a repeat of last year by winning the Grand Prix? Or will Nike or Volkswagen take top honours this time round?
And, of course, India's prospects (or the absence of any) are also being touched upon, fueled by the recent successes at the One Show and the Clio Awards. Expectedly, Fevicol's 'bus' commercial, M-Seal's 'testament' spot, Planet M's 'Tchaikovsky' commercial and the 'Second-hand smoke kills' campaign for the Cancer Patients Aid Association (CPAA) are being viewed as potential winners.
With so much of crystal gazing happening all over the place, Leo Burnett India, in a timely move, unveiled the Cannes Predictions 2002 at The Oberoi, Mumbai, on Friday, June 14. Before venturing into the specifics of this year's predictions, a thumbnail on the Cannes Predictions.
The Cannes Predictions traces its genesis to the year 1986, when Donald Gunn - former director of creative resources worldwide for Leo Burnett, and former president of the International Advertising Festival at Cannes - hosted an internal prediction contest for Leo Burnett employees. Since then, every year, a Cannes Predictions Reel created by the Leo Burnett Creative Exchange is circulated within the Burnett network, which is exposed to the industry, clients and the media.
The objective of the annual Reel - which comprises 50 commercials culled from the world's top 25 award shows in that particular year - is simple enough: showcasing 'standard-setting' commercials that Leo Burnett believes is most likely to win Cannes Lions. Agency or place-of-origin no bar. And the fact that the Reel has since boasted 11 of the past 13 Grand Prix winners is as good a testimonial as one can give.
One purpose the Reel serves is bringing a taste of Cannes to those from the ad fraternity who couldn't make the trip to the Festival. And this is particularly true in the Indian context, where local advertising enthusiasts get to see some of the best work produced that year. But most importantly, the Predictions gives ad folk the opportunity to test their creative judgement by voting for what they, individually, believe will end up winning. Every participant is required to pick out 20 commercials (from the shortlisted 50) that he or she thinks is Cannes-worthy.
"There are two ways of training professionals to think creative," says Arvind Sharma, managing director, Leo Burnett India. "One is through regimented training, which need not always work. The other is to allow people to exercise their judgement and see if it matches with the best of juries. This way, there is exposure to great international advertising, there is interactivity and learning. It is 80 per cent fun and 20 per cent learning."
And, of course, there is the 'client angle'. "All of us are guided by what we are exposed to, and that includes clients," says Sharma. "What we at Burnett have noticed is that since we started Predictions, there is a perceptible shift at the client's end when it comes to a belief in great creative." Incidentally, this is the third year running that Burnett India has been organizing the predictions locally.
Friday's event saw healthy participation, both from clients and the industry. And the 50 commercials on display - awesome. In fact, asking people to select just 20 ads almost seemed unjust. On a purely random pick, here are some of the ads, in brief.
The 'doctor' commercial for Stella Artois (made by Lowe, UK) tells a delightful tale of a small-town doctor being rushed off his feet during some highly contagious epidemic. Come evening, and weary doctor heads for the local tavern. But he isn't welcome there, for he is perceived to be 'a carrier'. And despite much reasoning by a clergyman, the locals don't want to go near the doctor, much less touch him. Finally, the clergyman picks up the Stella Artois the doctor has been so-reluctantly served and takes a sip to make his point. He holds the mug out. One hand reaches for the mug. And the mug gets passed around…
Then the 'departure' ad for Dulcolax (by Jean & Montmarin, France): a lady is in the middle of bidding her family farewell. She kisses her small, tearful son goodbye, gives a few instructions (perhaps a to-do list) and walks out of the door… into a loo! 'Constipation?' the super asks. Hilarious.
Nothing funny about the ad for Woman Kind (by Young & Rubicam EMEA, UK)… although it does look funny in the beginning. A man walking down a street counts women he passes by. 'One… Two… Three… Four.' As the fourth woman passes him, he kicks her on the shins, then walks on. 'One… Two… Three… Four.' This time, he goes up to the fourth woman and shouts at her, 'Bitch!' Looks really funny, till the VO tells you about how every fourth woman is a target of intense male abuse. Chilling, the way the man counts '…Four' as he is seen heading towards his house. Similarly, the ad for Portuguese Road Safety (BBDO, Portugal) is gut-wrenching in the way it shows a man trying to take off his artificial limbs. Here, execution is everything.
Then the 'dog' ad for the Toyota Celica (Saatchi & Saatchi, USA); nothing but a blazing red Celica parked on the side of a road. Somewhere, a frenzied barking is heard. Suddenly, a dog charges towards the parked car - and runs headlong into it. Bump! 'Looks fast' reads the super. One can't but chuckle.
Or the two ads for Fox Sports, made by TBWAChiatDay, USA. The 'leaf blower' ad is about this guy who has bought a leaf blower and is trying to operate it, with zero success. As he hefts and heaves, the blower suddenly starts spouting flames, like some flame-thrower. The ad tells you to beware of things made in October. Reason? October is MBL Playoff (baseball) season. The 'nail gun' ad is about how a harmless nail gun becomes a nasty bullet-spewing machine gun - because it's been made in October. What a way to say everyone is watching the Playoffs.
The brilliantly anti-climactic ad for Sealect Tuna (from Thailand); the fantastically lateral XBox ads (UK); the charming ads for Ponds Cream (Chile), Nutrasweet (Argentina) and Bud Light (Canada and USA); the attitude-dripping ads for Levi's (UK) and Nike (USA)… Like we said, selecting 20 is an injustice.
Incidentally, if one were to go by Leo Burnett's Cannes Predictions for this year, there's just this one Indian television commercial that stands a chance of striking metal. Fevicol.
Do we hear any predictions on this one? Â© 2002 agencyfaqs!