CANNES LEAVES PARTICIPANTS WITH REGRETS

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In the immediate aftermath of the Cannes International Advertising Festival-where no Grand Prix honors were given for film, press or poster ads-Advertising Age International Deputy Editor Laurel Wentz elicited opinions from attendees about the decision (AA, June 26). Following are those opinions, plus insights from one judge.

John McGarry, chairman-CEO, Young & Rubicam Advertising Worldwide, New York, at his first Cannes festival:

"I think it's embarrassing for the industry. It's like going to the Academy Awards and not having a best picture of the year. If the quality of the work were that poor I would understand, but I don't think it was that poor. How can you have 5,000 delegates coming from all over the world and have no Grand Prix in print or TV?"

John Hegarty, chairman-creative director, Bartle Bogle Hegarty, London, and president of the 1994 film jury at Cannes:

"It's a shame. The jury should have given a Grand Prix. They were wrong not to. Much as I admire `Eggs' [the charity commercial for the disabled by Abbott Mead Vickers/ BBDO, London, that won a special jury prize] it seems illogical to say you can't give a Grand Prix to a [charity] commercial and then when the jury wants to give it a special prize [instead], that stops them giving a Grand Prix.

"I think there should have been a Grand Prix in press and poster and a Grand Prix in film .... It's a negation of responsibility to not give a Grand Prix. Having said that, one constantly criticizes juries-you'll never please everyone."

Ted Bell, vice chairman-worldwide creative director, Young & Rubicam Advertising Worldwide, New York, and a Cannes judge last year:

"I've been coming to Cannes for years and I've never seen an audience react like that [with prolonged booing]. Award shows should be celebratory and affirming.

"I was a judge last year. We had one meeting where we looked at all the Gold Lion winners (to choose the Grand Prix) and we got it down to eight, then four, and finally three. We had a lot of discussions. The one that won [Bozell's Jeep Cherokee commercial] was not [jury President John] Hegarty's choice but he was happy to support it.

"This whole thing felt political [this year]. There was an alternate agenda that had nothing to do with the work. There were a couple that could have been Grand Prix this year. I loved [Bartle Bogle Hegarty's Levi's] spot `Drugstore.' I would have been proud as a judge to make that a Grand Prix.

"Our standard last year was first, a great idea and second, an ad that makes you proud to be in advertising. I guess that wasn't good enough for this year's jury."

Jack Piccolo, Jack Piccolo Productions:

"It leaves you with a downer. Everyone walks out [of the awards ceremony] and says, `What happened?' When they whistle and boo, they do it for a reason. They're pretty accurate."

Susan Hoffman, creative director, Wieden & Kennedy, Portland, Ore.:

"What made this judging the most difficult for me was that the work didn't always come first. I wish I was 100% happy with all of our decisions. I'm not .... But at least the goal of the show should be the work comes first .... It should be the one thing even this group could agree on. But it wasn't always.

"And finally, my hat goes off to Frank Lowe for being a great jury president, putting up with all of our diverse opinions, and most of all, for holding his own during the awards ceremony. The booing, hissing and rudeness was a sad commentary on our business."

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