Cannes Lions

A Cannes Dilemma: Will Brazilians Stay Home to Attend World Cup?

Soccer-Crazed Country Accounts for the Second-Highest Number of Cannes Entries

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Brazilians have an agonizing choice to make this month: to attend the Cannes Lions festival or stay home for the World Cup.

The soccer-crazed country accounts for the second-highest number of Cannes entries -- 3,476 in 2013, behind only the U.S. -- and about 1,000 of the festival's 12,000 attendees come from Brazil. That's the third-biggest delegation; the U.S. and the U.K. are first and second, respectively. In the print and outdoor categories, Brazil is the biggest single entrant.

But this year the World Cup will be played in Brazil for the first time since 1950 (that didn't end well; Uruguay won) and Brazil hopes to be the first country to win a sixth World Cup. They've already coined a word for it in Portuguese: the hexa.

Yet the country's ad agencies are also addicted to Cannes, and likely won't send fewer entries to the festival, which last year named Sao Paulo the most-creative city in the world after it hauled home 109 Lion trophies.
"All our research has been fairly consistent, that around 15% of our Brazilian delegates will need to be in Brazil, largely because of client commitments," a festival spokesperson said. "Entries do not appear to have been affected."

Sao Paulo's Africa is sending three people, down from seven last year. DM9 DDB, with clients Johnson & Johnson, Anheuser-Busch In-Bev's Guarana Antarctica soft drink, Itau bank and wireless provider Vivo all involved in World Cup sponsorships, is cutting its Cannes contingent to seven from the usual 10 or 11, but still sending 200 entries.

Some of Brazil's ad luminaries are staying put to attend matches with clients, including Washington Olivetto, chairman of WMcCann Brazil; Grupo ABC Chairman Nizan Guanaes; and Alexandre Gama, global chief creative officer of BBH and president-chief creative officer of Neogama BBH. Usually about five people from Neogama BBH go to Cannes. "Maybe [this year] we'll send someone who doesn't like futebol," Mr. Gama said.

Brazilian agency heads tell of festival CEO Philip Thomas wooing them over breakfast meetings. The festival organizers even suddenly added a Brazil Day to lure Brazilians to Cannes.
But one will definitely be there: supermodel Gisele Bundchen, who has her own seminar hosted by a U.S. agency, McGarryBowen.

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