Is it me… or have I already won my Gold Lion?

Cartoon 3 Cannes Jun 2011.jpg

If you work in advertising then you probably dream of winning a Cannes Lion. Hey, it’s a prestigious award, I don’t blame you. But I’m sorry to inform you, they’re finished. This year there’s a new beast on the Croisette. An award that could finally knock the old cat off its perch. I’m talking about, the spoof.

You might not have heard of it yet, but it’s this year’s must have. Ok, so it won’t raise your paycheck like a block of twisted gold, but what better endorsement is there than your award going viral all by itself? This is the point of modern advertising isn’t it? So it’s only right that it should be recognised at “the advertising event” of the year.

But then is Cannes really the advertising event of the year? I’d hardly call it work. Are all those people sipping the most expensive tap water in the world – unless Evian sponsor the WC sink, it is tap water– actually doing any business? Are they catching up with their industry colleagues, gathering vital information about next year’s hit campaigns, or are they just…. well, enjoying some chilled toilet water?

Yet we continue our yearly pilgrimage. It amazes me, and in a way raises my spirit, that in this age of ruthless digital communication, when a face-to-face is often seen as a gross waste of money, that our industry still works on physical contact. In fact, the film and television animal, as Sir John Hegarty points out, thrives off it.

Of course I know it costs a ridiculous amount of money. I understand that a one bed shoe box commands the price of a family holiday for four. But I can’t complain. Cannes week is worth every penny. There’s just something about having to look over your shoulder to see where you are in the world that’s immensely important.

And I guess there it is. Seen in a positive way it’s all about keeping up and staying on your toes. Taking a bow to the people who have achieved great things and reassuring yourself that it’s all worthwhile. Of course some of these great achievers can also be seen outside the notorious Gutter bar making yet more glorious speeches; like the now infamous state of the industry address: “I lub you, you’re great”.

But that’s part of the reason I love Cannes. People can relax. There’s something about the Croisette, with its old school charm, sandy beach and wonderfully overpriced tap water that seems to make our industry drop its guard and start to honestly communicate about the world we live in.

But nothing is perfect. And as long as the Spoof Award is missing from the stage, Cannes certainly isn’t. For anyone working in communications, this is the only one to win. Now in case you’re wondering why I feel so passionately about the Spoof Award (or the Consumer Appreciation Award, if you’d rather) well, this year it happened. I’ve been spoofed. Forget the Oscar nomination, chuck your Blue Juice merchandise in the bin, this is the big one.

Yep, It seems that a media student in downtown Erciyes has been very busy of late racking up the pixels in a very faithful “interpretation” of my Evo commercial. They say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, well, consider me well and truly flattered. As the speech goes - I just want to thank my family, my friends and the blokes running around Erciyes spoofing me in the first place. It’s a true honour to win the inaugural Cannes Spoof Award.

So this year, forget your Gold Lions, the main prize has already been dished out. But if you are heading for the Croisette this year, have a good one, and if you fancy a tap water I’ll been in the Majestic most days bragging about being spoofed. Have a great Cannes.

Tell me this isn’t great. []

Carl Prechezer