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Euro RSCG’s “Tck, Tck, Tck” campaign

And so we’ve come to the end of another Cannes Festival, albeit a smaller, more restrained version. Having come up empty (save for a humanitarian award given to us by the Mayor of Cannes!), I’m leaving a day early. Let the big winners go to the show this evening. I’m saving my agency many hundreds of dollars by checking out. I hope Angelo, our CFO, is reading!

Of course I’m frustrated by not picking up any hardware. Who wouldn’t be? We had several items I thought maybe, just maybe… mais non!

For me, the highpoint of Cannes this year was the Act Responsibly presentation hosted by Euro RSCG, featuring its Worldwide CEO, David Jones and Nobel Prize winner, Kofi Annan. The topic was Climate Justice. Kofi spoke eloquently about time running out for Earth with regard to global warming. On the theme of time, David introduced an integrated campaign entitled “Tck, Tck, Tck,” designed to convince world leaders meeting in Copenhagen this December to pass serious legislation or face “catastrophic consequences.”

But it was the event’s third speaker, Bob Geldoff who stole the show. He riveted the packed theatre by neither pulling punches nor politicizing the issues. “That’s Kofi’s job,” he said. “Not mine.” Indeed, Geldoff was a house-on-fire beseeching the ad world to do far more than a banner ad here or a poster there. He wanted a full-blown commitment and one, he claimed, few of us are willing to make. However, he said, if we didn’t “by 2050 Cannes would be under water.”

I urge you all to visit the website Euro RSCG created, forclimatejustice.org to see what you can do…and to see a pretty cool, open-sourced, integrated campaign.

Final observations…

I was surprised at how many terrier dogs are kept as pets in Cannes, particularly the West Highland breed. As some of you know, most restaurants (even the posh) allow canines in with their masters. On whole, these delightful dogs are better behaved than some ad people.

How apropos: The Mayor of Cannes is a former advertising executive, having worked at DDB.

Celebrity sightings: Belinda Carlysle, Roger Daltry, Spike Lee and, of course, Kofi Annan Bob Geldoff.

Best meal: Tetu. A seafood restaurant several miles outside Cannes, specializing in Bouillabaisse. To die for.

Big winner: Among other Lions, Queensland Tourism won three Grand prizes before the festival even climaxed.

Favorite Faux Pas: Mistaking Michael Conrad (The Berlin School) with uber-famous French advertising icon, Jean Marie Dru.

Favorite Bob Geldoff quip: calling the Havas network “Hamas.”

Saddest moment: hearing from a former hot shot fellow creative director, now struggling, that he’d paid his own way to Cannes…

Happiest moment: listening to U2’s new album while jogging up the French coast. “Magnificent!”

I wish to thank Talent Zoo for providing me this forum and you, Gentle Reader, for providing me an audience. God bless and have a wonderful summer.

Steff on Twitter

From Talent Zoo, #canneslions

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Agency creds or you know what…

One thing that has always driven me crazy about advertising is the grandiosity we agencies have when it comes to talking about ourselves. As soon as I became part of my agency’s creative leadership (here and elsewhere) I became part of the “Who are we?” discussion. This is the meeting where VIPs from all over the network argue passionately about the agency’s mission statement. The discussions can get pretty heated.

For the rest of this scintillating piece, please make the jump: Talent Zoo column

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“Let’s do something viral, Slash.”

I rewrote a piece I had originally done here for Talent Zoo, which ran yesterday. In it, I compare the surprisingly competent job a drug-addled rock band did with regard to integrated marketing versus the struggles big agencies have. Funny stuff. Have a look:

It\'s so f*&%ing easy!

images-1Willy ain’t going anywhere.

One of the many, many great lines in Richard Yates masterful American novel, Revolutionary Road comes during a business lunch between the main character, Frank Wheeler and the boss at his company. They are discussing a promotion for Frank in the sales department. The honcho tells Frank, “Everything is sales.” He goes on to elaborate how and why every single human interaction is, in fact, “selling something to someone.” As proof he offers Frank the delectable notion that “you wouldn’t be here if your Pop hadn’t sold your mother a bill of goods.”

Beauty, eh?

My creative partner, Blake Ebel just wrote an essay for Talent Zoo entitled “Salesmanship isn’t a four letter word.” In it, Blake makes the following point about clients: “If they had the choice between a salesman and an artist, who do you think they’d choose?”

Salesmen! That’s what copywriters and art directors always were and always will be. In the 60’s, Doyle Dane & Bernbach made selling “creative.” In the 70s, everyone did blow and nothing got done. In the 80s, Leo Burnett talked about building brands with “big, enduring ideas.” In the 90s, Saatchi gave us planning. In the 21st century, it’s about getting into a “conversation” with the “consumer.” All good stuff. But it’s all a means to the same glorious end: selling.

Look at 2009. It’s back to the basics. After all, there’s a recession on. What’s the unique selling proposition?

Wait a sec. The USP! Wasn’t that our industry’s catchphrase about a million years ago?

What goes around comes around. I don’t care if you’re Crispin, Porter or fricking Bogusky, you’re a salesman. Word.

Friday, Part II: Gods/ The year in Review.