I am residing in Paris for a few months and tomorrow I will join the Canadian ad talent at the Cannes Lions fest. This is my first time attending the festival and I am beyond excited!
In most recent Cannes news, Lowe Roche, Leo Burnett and BBDO were all announced as finalists. Congratulations!
Before the festival heats up, I wanted to share the current mood in France with you.
Today, around 45 million French citizens were voting for more than 6,000 candidates for one of 577 seats to their national assembly. Just over a 100 women were elected, placing France in the 58th spot in the world, between Venezuela and Nicaragua, for its legislative female representation.
Similarly, the age-old conversation about female under-representation in the role of ECD globally continues to be alive and well.
Following the wettest April in May history, here is what burning issues are trending in France at the moment:
1) Will Greece remain in the EU?
2) Will France beat Sweden on Tuesday and advance to the quarter finals in the Euro Cup?
3) Will the 30-year concubine of the newly minted President of France become the President of the National Assembly?
While I do not know if bloc voting takes place at Cannes (it typically happens at the Olympics, so why not Cannes?), today's election was likely unworthy of a Cyber Lion but might have earned a Cassie. Here's the extraordinary background between the two most important women in France, who've even eclipsed a Greek austerity plan and the Cannes festival itself.
By May 6th, the leftist tide was so strong that Francois Hollande beat Sarkozy and was elected President. Hollande was never supposed to represent the socialists; this was to be Dominique Strauss-Kahn's job. But a "Tiger Woods" type problem by the former International Monetary Fund President in a New York hotel, and more recently with a local prostitution ring, ended his leadership bid.
Hollande won the party's leadership almost by default. Word on the street is that Hollande is a "rassembleur," a unifier. His inner party has a large contingent of visible minorities and numerous women. "He is a nice man," said my favorite baker Ali. "You can tell by his eyes." I immediately thought of a wandering eye.
The night of his victory, while on stage, Hollande addressed revelers and proceeded to first kiss Segolene Royal, his life partner of 30 years and mother of his four kids, who ran and lost against Sarkozy in the 2007 presidential election. The he kissed his new concubine, Valerie Trierweiler, the woman with whom he had an affair while with Royal. The story is that Royal forced him out of the house in 2007, and blamed him and his other activities for her defeat against Sarkozy. I guess she has a more Anglo Saxon mindset about these sorts of French habits. More granular details are available here.
Fast forward to this week: Hollande, now President, who had to beat the mother of his four children in the presidential primaries, had promised her the role of President of the National Assembly if she won her seat in La Rochelle (think Cannes on the Atlantic).
Alas, in a presidential slip with no immunity, he forgot to inform his current girlfriend. The first lady, Trierweiler, decided to weigh in and sparked a firestorm by tweeting a message of encouragement to her adversary. That earned her a stern reminder from the prime minister "to keep her place, and not mix private and public lives." In France, that is "normal." I think it was also normal at a couple of Toronto ad agencies which were led by husband and wife teams...
As I attend my first ever Cannes Advertising Festival, I hope that more intriguing stories will develop.
As I type this report, sadly Canada has been shut down in the Direct category. Segolene Royal has lost her seat (a case for the power of social media?). No congratulatory tweet has been posted from the first lady to Olivier Forloni, who beat her. This is possibly a sign of a domestic dispute at the presidential palace.
Weather-wise, they are calling for rain everywhere, including freezing rain and hail in Paris.
Good luck to Lowe Roche, Leo and BBDO. Win or lose, the weather forecast is 27c to 28c in Cannes!
Stefan Danis, reporting for Adnews.com, is CEO of Mandrake and NEXCareer and has published Gobi Runner, a book about overcoming adversity, available at Amazon.