Saatchi Contrasts New Directors With Old Guard

CANNES Saatchi & Saatchi’s New Directors Showcase, traditionally one of the most popular seminars at the International Advertising Festival here, ushered in the new guard this year with a playful dig at the venerable establishment.

Bob Isherwood, Saatchi & Saatchi’s worldwide creative director, opened the 13th annual showcase here with playful musings about what would happen to the careers of the old guard, now that these 27 young directors were on the scene. Imagine what it would be like if Joe Pytka came at you with a drill in a dentist’s chair? What if Jonathan Glazer turned up at your house in overalls next time you have mice? he asked.

Leaving the audience pondering those absurd images, Isherwood turned the stage over to Tarsem, the commercial and feature director who made his debut at the first Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors Showcase in 1990. Taking the stage, the Indian-born director offered a glimpse of his possible alternative career as an orchestra conductor. Looking strikingly earnest, he conducted the Regional Orchestra of Cannes in a rendition of Prokofiev’s “Romeo and Juliet.”

“I enjoyed it as much as you can enjoy faking it,” said Tarsem after the screening. “Any woman can understand that.”

Isherwood said the agency wanted to introduce the reel with “something big and special and celebratory for the 50th anniversary.”

The showcase featured work from 27 directors working in advertising for less than two years. To produce the reel, each of the agency’s 138 offices submitted work from directors in their countries and the worldwide creative board culled spots from 500 reels for the show.

The work ranged from Rawson Thurber’s comedic “Terry Tate” Reebok spot, Carter & Blitz’s Mill Valley Film Festival ad featuring a reunion of eclectic characters and Blue Source’s Smirnoff spot showing a dolphin trainer who performs the pool show tricks himself to the visually bizarre—a Pleix commercial about a growing pig company that is taken over by a renegade employer and an Arron Bowyn spot showing a woman who has had plastic surgery to enlarge her behind.

Several directors who were included came from agency backgrounds, including former Lowe creative C.J. Waldman, whose work for NYSC depicting a woman tackling her mugger was screened, as well as former Black Rocket creative director Bob Kerstetter, whose Fusion One “Sync Is Everything” spots were shown, and a humorous commercial from Timothy Bullock, a Saatchi & Saatchi account director from Australia, showing a jazz ensemble going to great lengths to get the attention of a beautiful girl, who cannot hear their music because she’s deaf.