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Retour à Cannes

26/06/2008 - par Mark Tungate

By the time you read this, Cannes will be over for another year. That's almost hard to believe, because as I write I'm still in a state of feverish excitement about the prospect of boarding a train for the sunny South of France. It is fashionable to be cynical about the festival, but after almost a decade of sporadic attendance, I'm still not bored of it.

Why go to Cannes ? The question is raised every year - usually linked with a debate about whether award-winning ads actually sell products. I personally have no doubt that creativity sells, especially to imaginative consumers. When I hear people complaining about advertising, I often wish I could send them to Cannes. Looking at the ads there reaffirms my belief that, as a hothouse of ideas, advertising can easily compete with cinema and contemporary art. I also attend Cannes to peek behind the scenes of a dynamic, global industry, whose employees are often passionate about what they do.

This year Cannes is once again under new ownership, following the sale of Emap to Guardian Media Group and the private equity company Apax. That means even more of an emphasis on profits ; which means more seminars and an increasingly serious, professional atmosphere - at least on the surface. But everybody knows that the real attractions of Cannes are the human pleasures of socialising, eating, drinking, gossiping, partying - and generally feeling as though, although it isn't perfect, you've chosen the right career.

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