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Cannes 2014

Cannes Memories and Predictions From 10 of the World's Top Creatives

Tales from the Croisette

Illustration: Clara Phelan

• David Lubars
Worldwide chief creative officer, North American chairman, BBDO

Favorite ad ever in Cannes:
BMW Films, but not because I was one of its creators. I like it because it broke open the festival to embrace the new and scary and uncategorizable. In fact, Dan Wieden invented the Titanium to recognize it. Before BMW Films, Cannes and the other important shows were fairly narrow whereas now they’ve been liberated; they’re wide open to anything. That’s what a creative festival should be about.

Should do well this year:
“The Epic Split” Van Damme film for Volvo Trucks. Fantastic.

What I love about Cannes:
That the cement never hardens on the show. It’s always liquid, always reinventing itself, always pushing into new areas.

What I hate about Cannes:
I can’t think of anything … Maybe one thing I don’t respect is people who live off the fumes of a Lion they won 10 years ago. The people I hold in the highest regard do it every year.

Favorite Cannes moment:
When our Mars client was named Marketer of the Year. It’s my goal to have our other clients recognized similarly.

Where would we find you in Cannes in the morning? In the evening? After midnight?
Same place for all three: in my head, going crazy over all the brilliant things we’re competing with.

Tham Khai Meng
Worldwide chief creative officer, Ogilvy & Mather

Favorite ad ever in Cannes:
Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches.” It empowered women, and it moved them emotionally for the right reasons. It touched them deeply and articulated a genuine human truth that people are more beautiful than they think they are. It’s an idea that lives on. I was proud to be associated with it.

Should do well this year:
The British Airways “Magic of Flying” digital billboard. When I first saw it, I felt a tingle because I knew something had changed. I knew I was witnessing a new chapter—the future of billboard technology. This was Outdoor 2.0. It was simple, charming and made me smile. We can do wonderful things, and we must. If we don’t, it will be unforgivable.

What I love about Cannes:
I like the way Cannes showcases, measures and celebrates creativity. It raises the game for the industry. I also like how emotionally reassuring it is. If you lose, you can blame it on the judges being unfair. But if you win, it’s all due to your talent and hard work! Nice, eh?

What I hate about Cannes:
At some restaurants in the world, you have to be careful because they pad the bill with bread rolls you never ordered. In Cannes, they sometimes accidentally add a bottle of Château Margaux.

Favorite Cannes moment:
I enjoy seeing the winning work and watching the films, and being on Joe Pytka’s classic schooner, Altair. For a moment you can imagine Grace Kelly and Cary Grant are about to sail past.

Where would we find you in Cannes in the morning? In the evening? After midnight?
If I’m judging, you’d find me at all three times locked away in a dark basement, turning slowly translucent like one of those deep-sea creatures you see through the window of a diving bell. Otherwise, you know, walking along the beach carrying a tumbler of Southern Comfort, pursued by a shaggy dog, looking cool like the star of a TV commercial.

Susan Credle
U.S. chief creative officer, Leo Burnett

Favorite ad ever in Cannes:
Honda “Grrr.” I learned so much from watching it play to an international audience in the Palais. First, we are more alike than we are different. “Hate something to make something better” is a very human thought. And human thoughts work even if you are selling something as niche as a diesel engine. While still a traditional TV spot, it also foreshadowed what we now call “branded content.”

Should do well this year:
There is an ad gaining some momentum in shows that has surprised me in a positive way: “Misunderstood” by Apple. Is it about a beautiful gift from a talented young teen or a sad commentary on how we engage with the world? Either way, it elicits all sorts of emotions from all sorts of people. I applaud the team who surely knew it would be beautifully controversial and decided to make it anyway.

What I love about Cannes:
It’s the fanciest family reunion I’ve ever been to. It is surreal every year for me to walk down the Croisette and simply say, “Hi, how are you doing? It’s been a while. What are you working on these days? Want to grab a coffee and catch up?”

What I hate about Cannes:
We all go to Cannes under the guise of having our creative souls inspired. Often, as the winners are announced throughout the week, it becomes a place where many of those creative souls are crushed.

Favorite Cannes moment:
My very first day in Cannes, specifically the Sunday night before the week really kicked in. I was invited by Jerry Shereshewsky to an intimate dinner party in the hills of Super Cannes. I read the guest list and knew almost everyone invited to the dinner. The frightening part was not one of them knew me. I’m happy to say that, today, I still am friends with more than a few of the people I met that evening.

Where would we find you in Cannes in the morning?
If I am up, which is a big if, I’m grabbing a perfect latte from the little cafe on Rue du Commandant André.

Where after midnight?
Hopefully, standing with Matt Miller and his Balthazar-sized bottle of Domaines Ott at the Carlton discussing the wisdom of avoiding the Gutter Bar.

Amir Kassaei
Worldwide chief creative officer, DDB

Favorite ad ever in Cannes:
Apple’s “Here’s to the Crazy Ones” film by Chiat\Day. It is maybe one of the best pieces of copy ever written.

Should do well this year:
There are the usual suspects like “The Epic Split” for Volvo Trucks, which is a great piece of film. But we have seen other amazing pieces of innovative thinking, like DDB New York’s “The Drinkable Book” for Water Is Life or DDB Brazil’s “Hello My Name Means” for Johnson & Johnson Baby.

What I love about Cannes:
The Cannes Lion is still the most prestigious and important award for creativity in our industry. It is a great inspiration in terms of how to put together a conference. And yes, you can have some fun in Cannes, too.

What I hate about Cannes:
I miss the time when I was a young creative attending Cannes. It was much more fun. In my role, it is back-to-back meetings, and I do not like the fact that it’s becoming bigger and bigger every year.

Favorite Cannes moment:
I met my wife first at the festival, but professionally the best moment is still yet to come.

Where would we find you in Cannes in the morning? In the evening? After midnight?
In the morning and in the evening, you’ll find me in the jury room, as I am the festival’s film president this year. And I’m sure you’ll find me there some nights until midnight, too. Other than that, I’ll be found in some restaurants or bars, watching the World Cup.

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