Cannes generally calls to mind images of decadent luxury and sex in the city. Hotel suites and super-yachts bursting with botox babes flown in from Ukraine. The very epicentre of capitalism. The Roman Empire on steroids. Except, nothing could be further from the truth. This year, those coming here looking for a week-long descent into decadence were sorely disappointed.
Because capitalism has given way to socialism. On all fronts. The accommodations, creative work, the looks of the admakers. In 2014, everything is social all the way!
This year, as a man, the whole advertising world eschewed Martinez in favour of Airbnb. Taxis were pooh-poohed for plain rental bikes. And where once you had to book a table at Baoli three months in advance, this year you could just walk right in. Instead, everyone was doing their partying at proletarian pool parties. Self-organised, BYOB, chilled in an ice-filled inflatable kiddie-pool from Action.
And of course, that socialist tint was proudly on display in the work as well. Okay, maybe the film shortlist still had a smattering of glitterati going. But the other categories were very heavy on the serious community service. Good causes. Lots and lots of good causes. Sweetie the clear winner, with thirteen gold medals and a Grand Prix. Bono taking home the Cannes Humanitarian Award for his AIDS-fighting organisation Red. The Bentley Burial striking gold with the best organ donor campaign ever. And then there was 'Fuck the poor' by homeless advocacy group The Pilion Trust. Not to mention Social Swipe, and... the list goes on and on.
Are you an advertiser, but not pushing a good cause? No worries, we'll just pretend. The commercial wolves don social sheep's clothing. Transavia introduces the First-object-flight-converter. Turn your surplus household items into airline tickets, it's a snap. For Volkswagen, no glossy advertising, but a politically correct 'tear in moderation' campaign. Lego piling up bricks with the blind. And G-Star steering clear of lifestyle to launch the socially responsible campaign 'Raw for the oceans'. Those who do good, find good. Because G-Star also bagged a Grand Prix.
And then, there's the people. While last year, the three-day-beard was the look that said 'creative', this year it was the full three-month beard turning heads. Swimming pools full of Lenin lookalikes and faux Castros. These mega-beards were a familiar place to find Mediterranean table scraps and quite often the odd weaver bird as well. Which is all well and good, of course. But maybe, for a fresh new round of Cannes Lions in 2015, all these hairballs might want to consider a group shave action at Hairfest, the hair donation organisation that makes wigs for young cancer patients. If they did, the campaign might just turn their silver into gold next time. Yes, you could hardly imagine a more social Cannes.
But can anyone turn the social trend into cold, hard cash? Well, Lemz is certainly getting world-famous with it these days and (facial hair or no) scored Independent Agency of the Year. The Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix went to the oh-so-social Guilt Trip campaign. It is clear that in 2014, social sells. Posthumously, communism seems to be perfectly happy hand in hand with capitalism. Comrades to the end.