Editorial: Wieden's smart goal for Cannes

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In discussing his hopes for this year's Cannes International Advertising Festival, Dan Wieden is right on target-but not as impatient, as insistent, as he might be, or as many on advertising's creative cutting edge might wish. The highly-respected Mr. Wieden, head of the Wieden & Kennedy agency, said in these pages last week that the focus of Cannes has to expand beyond familiar advertising forms to search for "a sign of where things could be going, the antenna to indicate a new landscape." That earns Mr. Wieden warm support here, and from many an ad agency creative and no doubt from a surprising number of clients. Cannes needs to be opened up.

Mr. Wieden's aspirations for Cannes matter, of course, since he will be this year's president of judging for film, print and posters at the festival-a high-profile assignment for an agency creative person who rarely judges industry creative shows. The center stage at Cannes is still held by the ubiquitous short-form TV commercial. Newer forms and skills, such as online advertising and media planning, have scratched out places of their own at Cannes, but there is more work ahead for the judges.

Cannes was left divided last year about what to do with the novel BMW Films entry, bedecked with honors at other ad competitions but denied recognition by the all-important Cannes TV and films jury and shunted to the cyber jury instead. Mr. Wieden and every other judge at this year's festival should be aware of the discontent that generated. It certainly may be prudent and politic for Mr. Wieden to "speak softly" as he introduces himself to fellow judges from around the world. In private, however, Cannes needs a champion that can sell the judges on welcoming new ad forms to the grand stage that Cannes offers.

If Mr. Wieden can succeed, Cannes winners can be more of a road map for where advertising is headed and the festival can be less of a glamorous party for where advertising has been.

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