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

Tales from the Croisette

• 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: