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02/07/2009 - par Mark Tungate (tungateinparis@hotmail.com)

Cannes faced a lot of criticism this year. Personally, I find all the arguments about relevance futile when I am sitting on a restaurant terrace with a well-known creative director, chatting about the industry while gazing out at the blue sea. For me, Cannes is about escaping from the hurly-burly of daily life and networking in pleasant surroundings.

Cannes does not exist to predict the future of advertising. Cannes is the forum of the big agencies and brands. Certainly, it keeps up with times, but it is not obliged to be ahead of them. Going to Cannes to see the future of advertising would be like coming to the Paris collections to see the future of fashion. This is the establishment – the people to beat.

To get an insight into the future of the industry, there are other festivals worth attending. One that springs to mind is Offf, which takes place just before Cannes in Spain (see www.offf.ws). It started out as the Online Flash Film Festival, but now it is the festival of post-digital creative culture. Here you'll discover cutting edge creative types like my current favourites, Champagne Valentine.

Also intriguing is the Babelgum Online Film Festival, held in April by the Internet TV platform of the same name and chaired by Spike Lee (www.babelgum.com/online-film-festival). I am not saying that these events are better than Cannes, but they are complementary. And if you're worried about the future, they provide a heady dose of optimism.

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