The organisers of the Cannes festival are threatening to move the
annual advertising beanfeast to Barcelona because of a dispute with the
host town's officials.
The International Advertising Festival will not say what the row is
"We are still in discussions and we will make an announcement within the
next ten days," the festival's spokeswoman, Amanda Benfell, said.
The dispute, the latest in what has often been a combative relationship
between the organisers and the host resort, is understood to centre on
the wish of Bernard Brochand, Cannes' newly elected mayor, to
renegotiate the festival's contract.
Brochand, who is also DDB Worldwide's vice-chairman, has outraged the
festival's organisers over his pledge to appease the town's elderly
residents by making the festival pay even more for the amenities. He is
also facing criticism in the French press for his actions.
The dispute takes place against a background of disquiet among agencies
over the escalating costs of the Cannes festival. However, many believe
the threat to up sticks is a negotiating ploy.
"Moving the festival to Barcelona would seriously jeopardise its
future," a former festival insider said. "Despite all the ups and downs
there's nothing like Cannes."
Although Barcelona is seen as a cosmopolitan city with excellent
conference facilities and a vibrant nightlife, ad festival regulars say
it lacks Cannes' compactness and predict that registration numbers would
Gerry Moira, the creative director of Publicis, said: "Cannes may have
the perfect infrastructure for the festival but it's an old tart of a