WHERE ARE THE AMERICANS?

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When the U.S. Grand Prix winner was shown at the Palais des Festivals in Cannes last month, it was met with only polite applause. But then, it lacked a cheering section.

Outside the screening rooms, the U.S. presence at the Cannes International Advertising Festival was hardly felt; there simply weren't many Americans on hand, and those who were there were the usual veteran Cannesians. Missing were the new faces that reflect U.S. advertising's future.

But European ad people are coming to Cannes. And in increasingly large numbers, joined this year by large contingents of first-timers from South Korea and Russia and an explosion of Europe's young creatives-the "young hot dogs" as they call themselves: more than 300 this year from nine countries, taking advantage of a special rate offered them by the festival.

Organizers of the festival have taken pains in recent years to promote an image of professionalism, adding seminars and the like. It's still a show done on a grand scale, in an exotic locale, peopled with the trendy and the beautiful. But work does get done-in the restaurants and bars as well as the screening rooms.

Should "young hot dogs?" from the U.S. be at Cannes? Absolutely. Should more top U.S. creative directors make the trek? Certainly.

But will it happen? It can, if agency managers see that a "scholarship" to an event like Cannes pays off in ways that other perks don't: energizing their promising creatives and broadening their outlook. But can they see beyond today's cost controls?

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