In keeping with tradition, the Bombay Ad Club organized the screening of the 49th Cannes International Advertising Festival showreel at the Taj Mahal Hotel, Mumbai, on Friday last. This year's screening, which expectedly drew a packed house, was fittingly sponsored by O&M India. "This has been the best year ever for India at Cannes, and a great one for us at Ogilvy too. Plus O&M India is celebrating its 75th anniversary, so we thought we should sponsor the evening," explains Piyush Pandey, group president & national creative director, O&M India.
And what an evening it was for the gathering. Close to 90 minutes of non-stop creativity from all over the world. From simple human stories to outrageously funny 'people situations', from straightforward clutter-busting ideas to large-scale, execution-dependent ones, the audience was treated to some of the best advertising produced last year.
Going by the showreel, it is evident that humourous advertising finds favour with the Cannes jury - ads that bring a smile to the lips constituted the bulk of the showreel. Not to suggest there's anything wrong with that - after all, by and large, the funny ads got applauded the most at the screening too. However, it must also be added that this year's Grand Prix winner (the 'tag' commercial for Nike, by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland) was not humour-dependent, which kind of busts this it-has-to-be-funny myth. In fact, another Gold Lion winner for Nike ('shade running', also by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland) was also pretty serious in tonality. Ditto in the case of the gold-winning 'Odyssey' commercial for Levi Strauss & Co (by Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London).
But yes, the funny ones won a lot. The 'fridge' ad for Anheuser-Busch (by Downtown Partners, Toronto); the 'dog' ad for the Toyota Celica (by Saatchi & Saatchi, Los Angeles); the 'sofa' ad for Reebok (by Lowe, London); the 'metamorphosis' ad for Axe deodorant (by Vega Olmos Ponce, Acassuso); all the ads for IKEA (by Leagas Delaney Paris Centre, Paris) and Fox Sports (by TBWAChiatDay, San Francisco)…
One observation that quite a few ad folk made after the screening was that, a lot of the work in the showreel was very dependent on execution. "There are so many ads here that cannot be storyboarded," remarked one senior account director. "Full point to the client for buying it, but I do not see many Indian clients buying this kind of work on the concept alone. Like how do you explain a concept like Nike's 'tag' ad or the 'champagne' ad for Xbox to a client?"
Now that is something to chew on…
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