Reporters' Notebook

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A shoe-in The invitation to the black-tie press & poster and cyber awards gala was a red flag to Kevin Roberts, CEO of Publicis Groupe's Saatchi & Saatchi. Mr. Roberts, a casual New Zealander and sports fanatic, bounded onto the stage to collect a Silver Cyber Lion for Saatchi's Adidas work-dressed in the uniform of New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team: black T-shirt, shorts and sneakers, all by Adidas.

Busch league The Thursday night dinner in honor of the U.S. judges, hosted by USA Today, was one of the festival's hot tickets-and could have been a beer bust. Steve Hantzarides, USA Today's intrepid managing director, saved the evening. Anheuser-Busch Senior VP-Marketing Augie Busch IV, in town to be honored as Advertiser of the Year, was an invited guest, and Mr. Hantzarides called ahead to ensure there would be plenty of A-B beer on tap. Just to be sure, on Tuesday he drove to Moulin de Mougins in the hill village of Mougins to inspect the beer for the dinner. The five-star restaurant's staff proudly displayed what it had obtained for the feast: low-brow Busch beer, not exactly A-B's flagship. Mr. Hantzarides scoured the Riviera for Anheuser-Busch's local distributor and scored a supply of Budweiser, which Mr. Busch's table drank all evening. The other 100 American guests were forced to settle for fine French wine.

It takes a pillage Lee Clow, TBWA's chairman and worldwide creative director, says the French Coast Guard approached the TBWA yacht and ordered it to lower the Jolly Roger, the agency's emblem of irreverent rebelliousness. Seems French law requires ships only fly recognized flags signifying nationality. "We said we won't rape, we won't pillage, and we won't plunder," Mr. Clow says, "but they still said no."

Good dish Most of the nearly 9,000 Cannes goers know Romain Hatchuel as the young CEO of a festival that judges almost 19,000 ads in a week. But to one woman at the Media Lions dinner on Wednesday night, Mr. Hatchuel was only there to serve. As one of the relatively few people to observe proper black tie attire, a bemused Mr. Hatchuel began his speech: "I've just been mistaken for a waiter."

Intergalactic Group of Cos.

Outside the judging room, the Cannes festival seemed like a parallel universe to the 450 U.S. delegates who had flown in from the gloomy world of budget cuts, layoffs and economic uncertainty. Augie Busch entertained on his yacht, the entries for Cyber Lions were up by 50% to almost 1,500 despite the dot-com crash, and agencies pink-slipping in the U.S. liberally poured champagne at their parties on the beach.

"It's like being on another planet," says Peter Blacker, VP-interactive marketing at AOL Time Warner's America Online Latin America. Added Geoff Thompson, worldwide creative director for Interpublic Group of Cos.' FCB Worldwide: "Everyone seems as jolly as they ever are. It's a stark contrast to the San Francisco [awards] show six months ago, where everyone had that deer-in-the-headlights look."

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