It is expensive to come here, probably $7,500-10,000 per employee. Hopefully you bring hardware back home but with over 34,000 entries and so few winners, sometimes the learning is what gets taken back home.
Robin Heisey, ECD at DraftFCB, likely took 1,000 pictures of the work here. Todd Mackie from DDB is also studying the work. Recently promoted to Co-CD with Denise Rossetto, Todd shared his experience: "It was a bit of baptism by fire. It was a much harder transition than I thought it was going to be, to be honest. It's simply an incredibly different job than we had before, if it was just about the work, that would be easy but there is so much more to it obviously. The real challenge has been protecting your time so you can focus more on the work because everyone wants you in every meeting."
Here he gets to find mindful time to analyze the work; as a day-to-day leader there is "management" that gets in the way.
"Lions are very important to us," said Mackie. "We see ourselves competing on the global stage. For Dave Ross and Paul Wallace, the creative team that won a Silver campaign for Toronto Crime Stoppers, it'll mean a lot. But those guys are pros, they win a lot of awards and they remain humble. All I remember when I won my first time was just feeling incredibly proud. Now that Denise has judged and expressed to me how hard it is to win here, I think everyone should feel proud of a short list all the way to the grand prix. There is so much good work here, if you can stand out here, you truly have accomplished something."
Judy John, ECD at Leo Burnett, was doing that today, Saturday, after reaching "Acceptance," what she calls "her third phase of Cannes," focusing on the post-mortem and framing the learning opportunity for the agency when she returns to Toronto.
"Look around," she said, "This is what they are doing around the world. We won nine Pencils at the One Show. We're killing it I thought." Leo had a fast start with two Bronzes and numerous short lists. Then phase two kicked in: humility. "The work is so good. Our work is good, but not quite what is needed to win here today." Unmet expectations? "We can do better given what I am seeing here," she said. It has been a long week, but her drive to compete has her working the floor with her camera when most are, well, on the enjoyment side of their Cannes experience (drinking a rose or shopping for a brim hat). The agency is enquiring into how the winners do it, think of it, and, as important, sell it to the client.
Cannes offers the biggest agencies, clients, and media companies in the world a chance to compete amongst themselves, observe each other and learn from each other. It is not simple for the Canadian creative directors, leading some of the world's most successful brands, to continuously harness greatness and create big ideas repeatedly. Tonight is the final night. The Film, Film Craft, Branded Content & Entertainment, and Titanium and Integrated Lions will be awarded. Good luck Canada.
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.