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Thursday, Jul 08, 2004

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Can't at Cannes?


The triple-digit Indian delegation to the Cannes advertising festival is lurching back home, with not much more than terrible hangovers. Four bronze lions is the total tally. If you discount the awards for NGOs and a restaurant, you can cheer Saatchi and Sony Handycam for the creative brand performance of the year. Gone are the days when large agencies snootily asked small advertisers what their budgets were. Today, giants will be wooing the smallest advertiser possible. After all, it is established that the big advertisers don't win awards. And agencies have to shine at Cannes. NGOs and little restaurants such as Senso can now entertain themselves with multi-agency creative pitches. Only the top ten agencies which send at least ten delegates each to Cannes need apply please.

The perfect snowball

The book was written two years ago. It was launched last week.

Ranjan Kapur's book The Perfect Snowball rolled off to a well-organised start. Vindi Banga, Farzana Contractor, Indu Shahani (Principal, H. R. College) and Suhel Seth participated in a lively discussion on the book. Each of them took about 15 minutes to give their views on a book they all said took less than ten minutes to read. Several members of the audience then gave their views on a book they had not read, but by then seemed to know a lot about.

Ranjan, ad man, sculptor, artist, and now author, collected enough material for a 15-minute sequel. It could also inspire a book called `The Launch of the Perfect Snowball' which would take 60 minutes to read.

The audience was well mixed. It had the statutory arty types, several agency heads (Grey, Quadrant, Mudra, Prem Associates, Canco ... ) a few regular Page 3 fixtures (a ten-minute book would be ideal for their comprehension-span) and some media people.

The immediate-past Chairman of the Cannes Jury was not present to greet his erstwhile boss. But then, the South of France is pretty far away and one needs a holiday after some strenuous activity. .

The book, which could have different meanings to different people, talks about core values, a search for excellence, critical mass, the swift road downhill, a loss of control, dejection, steely resolve to begin once again.

A member of the audience wondered if it was autobiographical.

Another lauded the choice of Vindi Banga to kick off the discussions.

No comment.

Winning Karnataka

The monsoons seem to be the time for freebies to rain on the advertising community. Vijay Karnataka sent out a direct mailer to media types in advertising agencies and marketing companies explaining that NRS and IRS had ranked them first among Kannada newspapers in Karnataka. Not just first, but that their readership was greater that the combined readership of Prajavani, Udayvani, Samyukta Karnataka and Kannada Prabha.

Now that's some statement to make. To emphasise their "greater coverage", they enclosed one really tiny paper umbrella signifying the readership of the "others" and a real umbrella signifying their own coverage. Well, that should send the media planners running for cover.

Makes one think, the Vijay' over Karnataka would have been sweeter for this transport tycoon-turned-press baron if the coverage had been as good in the elections that he contested in the State. Remember, his Kannada Nadu party contested all the seats for the parliamentary and assembly elections. Well, you win some, ...

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