Cannes Lions Blind Items: You Just Got Grizacked!

By Patrick Coffee 

Cannes boats

Happy week-after recovery period! Did you return from the French Riviera refreshed and inspired, regret the fact that you had to stay home and sulk, or follow Sir Martin’s lead and ask yourself why the hell we do this in the first place?

  • It’s all looking like a bit of a blur now, what with the time difference and the shameless self-promotion and the lack of proper coffee. While the panels and awards reels contained quite a few mentions of gender and diversity and equality and empowerment, we (understandably) didn’t hear a peep about Jim Palmer, Gustavo Martinez, Alexei Orlov or Bill Grizack. Several interested parties did ask us about Griz, though, and we managed to score an amusing anecdote. A staffer at one of the three agencies that employed him before he pleaded guilty to fraud in March told us how his crimes came to light: Someone began passing our first post (h/t Winston-Salem Journal) around the office and immediately noticed a striking similarity between Grizack’s Facebook pic and the headshot of a recent job applicant. This individual then did a double take at the desk, turned to a colleague and asked: “Wait, doesn’t he work for us?!” (The answer was yes.)
  • Snapchat was quite literally all over the Festival trip, from the airport security baskets at JFK to the massive ghost that floated above the Palais, demanding to be taken seriously. But the big deal (allegedly) discussed in drunken chats throughout the week had nothing to do with filters or ad buys. According to multiple sources who’ve never been wrong in the past, a certain holding company that owns a minority stake in a certain independent agency was ready to move forward with its plans to dominate the ad industry this week by completing the acquisition. This deal would have meant millions of dollars for agency principals, each of whom would have secured multi-year contract extensions. It may also have brought relief to some shareholders who have exhausted themselves by producing so many campaigns and managing so much talent over the past few years. But in the end the deal fell through. Why? In two words: David Cameron. If you don’t believe this theory, take a look at what happened to the global stock markets on Thursday, June 23rd. All involved parties now deny that a big buy was in the works, but we know we are not the only media people who have been asking around.
  • This year’s winner of the Cannes Lion for Narrowly Averting a Fistfight concerned an employee at a certain media outlet who seemed convinced that another, unnamed individual had somehow managed to leave an unwanted $35,000 charge on his or her credit card. Maybe someone had a bit too much to drink at a cafe or maybe someone got their card information “hacked,” but a screaming match definitely ensued on the street with accusations flying back and forth. We do hope the involved parties were able to resolve their dispute, but we’re mostly glad no punches were thrown.
  • At one agency party, an executive dished on a young, rich and notoriously difficult client whose chief marketing officer happened to be sitting nearby. This client recently added both a new creative agency partner and a new marketing executive to its roster, but our source didn’t seem to think the relationship will last. The prediction: it will all be over in six months, because the marketer only picked a new shop because he/she wanted an agency like a 5-year old wants a new toy. You may not be surprised to learn that the shop responsible for the rumor also lost the pitch.