Is it me... or was Cannes gold?

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Beware… advertising is a virus. There’s a self-replicating gene, called a “meme”, spreading social media at an alarming rate. But don’t be afraid, it’s only Richard Dawkins opening this year’s 2013 International Festival of Creativity.

Welcome to Cannes, baby! By the time you read this your rose haze will hopefully have faded along with the azure blue skies of the Cotes D’Azure. But what was this year’s festival really like? Was it worthy of the 60th year?

There were definitely some interesting winners. 
Great to see branded content coming of age: chocolate created a successful love story, a man woke up everyday with a new face and some obvious less engaging Lions 
Just shows what can be achieved across platforms if characters and stories engage. For film we should raise a glass to the “dude”, who thought budgie smugglers would breathe fresh life into alcohol advertising. Proves what great casting can achieve. Also nice to see food getting a look in with Lurpak. I’d love to see a whole TV series about the mysterious “cook” and her buttery powers, wouldn’t that be great?

Onstage Mother were teaching everyone “how not to be a douche”, and there were the usual celebs as well as some unusual ones.

But what about life outside the Palais? I arrived at 4pm on a Tuesday afternoon and the Sandpit was full, the Carlton Terrace was heaving, and the beach restaurants buzzed with production companies from around the world. Unlike the atmosphere a few years ago the feeling was upbeat, positive and resourceful. As the old sign in the Las Vegas Casino reads, “you have to be present to win”. But win what, exactly?

What links lectures, delegates, and Golden Lions with the heady goings-on of the fringe? Why isn’t there a place, like the Film Festival’s official bar, where delegates and non-delegates can mix without getting ripped off? Google try (but you’ve got to be a delegate), the Carlton make a living out of it (you’ve got to be a millionaire) and others miss the mark with elaborately themed parties.

The only people who really impressed were the APA – top work Steve. They were trying, with events such as the producer's lunch, to start a more meaningful conversation that could actually go somewhere rather than into The Gutter. Seems to me that this is definitely the way ahead. A way for your week in the Sun to have more effect that a lasting hangover. Maybe clients could sponsor a few events and then we’d really have a focus for the fringe? Failing that I’ll settle for a goodie bag. Too cheap? Sorry.

Or maybe I’ve got it all wrong. If advertising is spreading like a virus maybe the really juicy stuff at this year’s festival of creativity happened online, tweeted to the world. Personally I’d prefer a bit of eye to eye and a good old glass of the pink stuff. Seems that the 15,000 other people agree.

But that, as they say, is already history. I’m packing my gas mask and heading off to Istanbul to shoot a very nice film for my friends at Atlantik. See you next month with stories from the City that never sleeps and the man who has brought new meaning to the "word" silence. Onwards to enlightenment. Insha'Allah

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