The Cannes Q&A: McCann's Geoff Edwards

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Geoff Edwards
Geoff Edwards Credit: Ann-Christine Diaz

Did you go out last night?

Yeah, I went to dinner and then after that I promised myself I was going to behave a little more and I didn't. I went to the gutter bar. I thought I was going to leave at 1:30 and then I got cornered by Tom Carroll (TBWA Vice Chairman).

You and Scott (Duchon) have been at McCann as creative directors on Xbox for a while now. How has it been moving into leadership roles?

That's interesting, when Scott and I were at Chiat (San Francisco) we did all our own stuff, other than "Improvisation," Scott and I worked together as a senior creative director team. The difference now is that we're managing. Scott and I haven't written a script since "Jumprope."

What's the process like becoming leaders?

Honestly, I think it's an evolutionary process. You don't learn to be a leader, it's based on past experiences, on people who have influenced you and influenced your career. A huge influence on me is Bob Scarpelli. He's the (film and press) jury chair this year and I can't wait to see him. When I was at DDB/Chicago, I learned a lot from him. There's this one quote that I carry around that he always said, and that's "All good ideas find a home." It's so true because a lot of ideas aren't bought, but you hold on to those thoughts and at some point there will be an opportunity. For instance, the song we put on the Gears of War spot, that's a song Scott had always kind of kept with him, and then this spot came out and was a perfect opportunity. So I think leadership is about grabbing the positive experiences we've had in this industry and galvanizing them, and incorporating them into your personal style. It starts from the core. The core of it are talented teams. They're the young people. They're shaping the culture of the industry. They're coming up with the ideas. They're charged with that and it's up to Scott and myself to recognize the good ones and direct them, not impose too much of your will.

What do you think will win this year, and what do you think should win?

It's an interesting year. I don't think, like in years past, that there's a definitive winner. Cog, Honda—when that came out, that was the best ad in the world. Grrr, that was an undisputed winner. This year there's a lot of good advertising. There were no gold lions in North America last year. So I think there's been a commitment from agencies to do a lot of good work, to really concentrate on ideas, so I'm interested in seeing who wins film, but I'm probably more interested in seeing who wins Titanium. But to answer your question, I've heard a lot of buzz about "Happiness Factory", and Dove And I think a lot of that is kind of inspired by the publications. But I love "Happiness Factory." It reminds me of classic Coke advertising, classic advertising in general that just wants to do good by the product. I would have to go with "Happiness Factory." But I will tell you this, the spot that I wish would win, would have to be some of the Skittles work, which is hysterical. This is a global competition and I'm not sure that ran globally, but that work to me from Chiat/N.Y. is hysterical.

What about Titanium?

It's interesting. There are some things I feel have a great chance. There's something that tells me that the Burger King Xbox campaign has a legitimate chance. Other than that, the work being done in Buenos Aires, in South America right now is some of the best in the world. I feel like the Titanium Award may go to something I've never seen.

So have you imbibed a lot of rose yet?

Yes, a lot of rose for sure, and I've discovered an energy drink that I don't even know the name of. It's bright red and it kept me up till four o'clock in the morning.
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