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Op-Ed: DDB Cali’s New CCO Jason Elm ‘Goes Unplugged’ at Cannes

It’s been a few days since Cannes closed the books on its 2013 clusterfuck, but what the hell. Fresh off of taking the creative helm at DDB California, Deutsch L.A. alum Jason Elm gives us his observations from the event, in which he discusses going 24 hours without iPhone on purpose. Take it away, sir.

Every year, my iPhone becomes an increasingly critical part of my Cannes experience. A few years ago, I’d use it to reach people and take photos, but now it’s almost never in my pocket: I’m using it to Google things I find interesting, taking notes or voice memos, tweeting, using the Cannes app to capture the work and schedule my day, reviewing office emails, texting my friends over here and using six different social media apps to keep tabs on people nine time zones away in California.

It’s now a persistent input/output extension of my brain while I take in the festival and its surroundings. But, is it enhancing my experience or getting in the way of it?

This year, I found out by negotiating the hustle and bustle of the Festival without my iPhone for an entire day: from the time I woke up to the time I went to bed, I wouldn’t so much as touch the phone. When I told people I’d be doing this, most of them looked at me like I was insane. But, it was actually a big eye-opener to just how constantly I use my phone (sorry, “connected mobile device.” But, I’ll simply call it a phone because, well, that’s what we say. )

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Clear Channel Outdoor Displays Creativity on #Canvas at Cannes

Catering to current trends of craft and crowdsourcing, Clear Channel Outdoor commissioned two “high-profile billboard muralists” to handpaint people’s tweets on a giant canvas during Cannes. And by smushing enough ideas together on a 16m x 4m screen, they’ve set a couple records: This was the world’s first hand-painted micrography billboard made entirely of tweets, and also the world’s first gigapixel image searchable by tweet.

To gather relevant words, CCO started Twitter debates with questions like, “Who owns the creative agenda?” and “Is technology redefining creativity?” People were into it: over the four-day period, the campaign delivered a total campaign reach of 15.7 million impressions on Twitter. “Who owns the creative agenda?” trended number two worldwide. As the responses streamed in, social media visualisations of the #canvas Twitter content were displayed on CCO’s website, digital screens at the festival, and a high-resolution projection to a separate 18m x 5m canvas located on the roof of the Le Grand Hotel.

It’s a sweet reflection of the spirit of Cannes, one that could have only been more accurate if it involved alcohol. See if your tweet was chosen here.

And Now, a Quick Cannes Report: Wednesday Recap Edition, with DJ

Chris Zander, managing director/partner at L.A.-based prodco Backyard, is here once again to regale you with a tale from the French Riviera. If anything, we like to get some sort of first-person perspective because we’re sure you’re keeping apprised of all the award show happenings anyways. Take it away, sir.

Wednesday sightings:  The Arnold Pogo Stick in action.  Joe Pytka deep in concentration.  Tumblr branding on the Gutter Bar.  Happy Americans with piles of Lions.  Very happy Brazilians with even more Lions.

The Mill Villa party was mobbed.  The pool was overflowing; beer bottles and empty wine glasses were stacked everywhere.  The villa party to end all villa parties.  Drop dead views of Île Sainte-Marguerite.

The Massive Music party: a Wednesday night tradition that tops itself every year.  Picture this: it’s 11:30pm on the beach.  A dancefloor.  A blinding digital screen and a pulsating sound system.  An androgynous white figure emerges and ascends to the rafters and starts to empty a feather pillow onto the dancing masses.  Three oversized plucked chickens “dance” on the center platform like sumo wrestlers while they shoot balloon eggs out of their asses.  Heineken bottles glow like fireflies.

And then the star DJ Cinnaman enters.  The music reaches a pulsating crescendo.  In an instant, the entire crowd begins to undulate.  I spend 10 minutes lurking near Cinnaman and watching him manipulate his sound system, and watching our industry’s finest move with his every twist of a knob.  It’s inspiring and humbling, and reminded me of why we are here:

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And Now, a Quick Cannes Report

Chris Zander, managing director/partner at Venice, CA-based prodco, Backyard, chimes in from the French Riviera and talks about why Cannes is still worth attending. So, we’ll indulge and live vicariously through him for the next few days. Stay tuned for more and you can follow Zander at @realchriszander.

I’ve come to Cannes eleven times over the past thirteen years, and most of the trips have blurred into each other.  Whenever somebody asks me what has changed since my first trip here, I usually answer that nothing has really changed but some of the faces.  Tuesday night here could always be counted on for being quiet…the calm before the storm.  But last night, for the first Tuesday night ever, the restaurants and bars were packed.  The streets were buzzing, and the Carlton was overflowing like the typical Thursday nights of the past.  Digital and Innovation have finally caught up to TV.  There is a palpable energy here, and a bigger SXSW-type of crowd.  There is an energy of excitement…what is coming next??

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Arnold’s Pogogram Provides Social Content with a Bounce

Most people can barely walk and chew gum at the same time, but Arnold Worldwide’s latest creation, the socially versatile Pogogram, can multitask with ease. The pogo stick can bounce, take video and pictures, and post content to Instagram, Vine, Flickr, etc. Still working on that chewing gum bit, though. I’m not sure why the agency would build such a tricked-out pogo stick with a Canon G15 camera attached – maybe so staffers can goof around in the lobby on breaks? – but it’s a cool side project bolstered by a minimalist video with a peppy French song straight out of a Woody Allen movie. You may also want to know that Pogogram even holds a pogo stick Guinness World Record for highest bounce.

Arnold seems to have a fondness for building souped-up consumer products. First, there was the socially connected beer vending machine, a homey staple for frat houses with an abundance of engineering students. Next came the Arnold Bike from Arnold Amsterdam. Beer vending machine, check. Bike, check. Pogo stick from ArnoldNYC, check. Now, is there a way to combine all of the inventions together? Maybe a hydraulic bike with a beer dispenser? Think of the awards that baby could win…

Our Cannes Contributor Chimes in Pre-Flight

While yours truly languishes in the humidity shrouding NYC as of now, we’ll be receiving daily Cannes reports from one Chris Zander, managing director/partner at Venice, CA-based prodco, Backyard. As he awaits his flight to the French Riviera, Zander, who will be be going rogue in a sense for the duration of this year’s Cannes Lions, tells us in his first submission, why go in the first place? Consider this an introduction post more than anything if you will. Stay tuned and you can follow Zander at @realchriszander.

Tonight, I’ll be on Delta 82 to Nice with half of the advertising world.  The next five days will be a whirlwind of dinners, drinks, villa parties, networking, late night dancing and late morning jogs.  This year my travel partner will be Kris Mathur, my good friend, Backyard’s esteemed executive producer, and the real Most Interesting Man in the World.

If you want the Cannes Ad Festival updates, you are in the wrong place.  I won’t be buying a delegate pass.  I tried going “official”  one year, and went to multiple sanctioned events.  It wasn’t for me.  I discovered that short list screenings were a perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep.

My guess is that at least half of the annual attendees are in Cannes as unofficial delegates.  Walk around the Gutter Bar before the sun comes up next Sunday morning, and you may see one or two happy people carrying around Gold Lions…maybe.  Trust me: if the crowd was limited to the award winners and delegates, the festival wouldn’t be nearly as fun, crowded, and colorful, and almost everybody would be asleep by midnight.  There would be nobody in the street to pose for pictures with the Leopard Ladies.  The energy level would be severely reduced, and the opportunity to be taken on day trips to Saint Tropez would we greatly diminished.

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It Looks Like Someone’s Fulfilling Our Dreams at Cannes


Since we’re once again staying put here in the States during all the Cannes Lions revelry, we’re happy to see that a few folks have taken it upon themselves to bring to fruition what we were always destined to do one day at the Festival via an effort called “Busted at Cannes.”

We did a little digging, and yes, we’ve been told that this is a side project concocted by a couple of EVB staffers including the San Francisco-based agency’s VP, director of technology & innovation, Aaron McGuire, whose name is actually plastered all over the Busted site. Check out the demo video below that just launched to get more of the gist. And no, that Donny Deutsch pic will never get old. Update: The Deutsch image has been removed, so we have the above shot of folks like Colleen DeCourcy and Brian Morrissey instead.

Sweden Opens Up with ‘Yellow and Blue Pages’


Perhaps in an effort to indulge everyone’s inner-stalker, Made @Sweden will release the Yellow and Blue Pages, a comprehensive contact list for the top creatives who work in the country’s communication industry. Before the guide comes out on June 16 at Cannes, Made @Sweden is pumping up the publicity, taking out ad space in the festival’s program and daily newspaper to promote the literal and figurative open book. Take a second to focus on how European this it. I’d be stunned if American professionals did the same thing. Farfar alum/current McCann Europe chief innovation Matias Palm-Jensen, who may or may not be a character from The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, is even giving out the phone number to his summer home. I think Made @Sweden is underestimating how relentless and annoying people can be when given a chance to anonymously contact someone, but the openness is certainly refreshing in theory.

After the jump, you can also watch clips for Civil Rights Defenders and the Natalia Project, two ventures nominated at this year’s Cannes associated with the Made @Sweden creative academy.

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The Takeaway from the 2nd Annual MRM Contest: ‘I Am…Purple’

I don’t get Vine. I don’t get the appeal of six seconds worth of jump cuts and amateur shaky cam, when our mobile photography capabilities are so advanced. But, if Vine has any redeeming qualities, it’s unusual format does open the door for creative contests. Well, maybe more curious than creative, since how much can you really say with poor quality videos in six seconds? Nonetheless, MRM Worldwide just held its 2nd annual “I am MRM” contest where agency employees under 28 could produce a meaningful Vine and win a trip to Cannes.

The finalists, including winner Anna Chechetka, did get quite creative, incorporating text, art, sound effects, and stop-motion. You can watch all of the finalists’ videos here. My personal favorite, complete with fire-breathing dragon, comes from Yi Xiu Lim. It turns out that Chechetka, meanwhile, learned she had won in a personal call from MRM CEO, Bill Kolb. Before getting on the phone, Kolb — who was recently promoted to chairman/CEO of McCann Worldgroup’s GM account — looked at his secretary and in a grumbly old-man voice said, “What is this silly Vine business?” That last part is probably not true; I just made it up to project my Vine feelings on to someone else.

Who Needs a Personal Assistant at Cannes?

There’s not too much to say about this video. A creative advertising student, who wishes to stay anonymous at the moment, has made this one-minute digital pitch aimed at senior-level industry folks (from CDs to CCOs to CEOs) who have yet to pick out an errand boy or girl for the upcoming 2013 Cannes Lions Festival. The animated video is cloaked in some 80′s synth beats, pastel colors, and dry narration humor, which may not be your thing, but if it is, the anonymous creator wants you to find more information at the “Personal Assistant de Cannes” Facebook page. In return, the student is hoping to receive a Cannes Young Lions pass and accommodations  We’ll leave it up to you to decide if this is clever or cheesy or irrelevant. At times like this, it’s better to just report the facts and see what happens next.