CLOSE-UP: LIVE ISSUE/CANNES - Cannes' hostility may well force the ad festival away, Francesca Newland writes

The leather-skinned dames native to Cannes are up in arms. The

International Advertising Festival, with its 9,000 delegates, takes over

the city for one week every year, and they don't appear to like it.



The city's mayor, Bernard Brochand, faces a massive conflict of interest

over this increasingly heated issue, for his day job is the

vice-chairman of DDB Worldwide. It appears that one of Brochand's

election pledges was to "give Cannes back to its people".



And, as most delegates of the International Advertising Festival can

testify, the "Cannes people" do not like their annual visitors from

adland.



The surliness of many of the waiters can only be matched by that of the

shop keepers. The concierges in what are some of the world's most

expensive hotels are experts in ignoring the every wish of their

out-of-pocket clientele.



Now it seems the two sides' smouldering mutual dislike has come to a

head. Neither the mayor's office nor the International Advertising

Festival was prepared to comment on the dispute currently threatening

the festival's residence at the resort, but sources say the breakdown in

relations involves Cannes' municipality demanding a new contract from

the festival organisers.



The organisers are refusing because they only recently signed a

five-year contract.



What's clear is that this is no mere display of histrionics. The chief

executive of the festival, Romain Hatchuel, has just taken over the

reins from his father. Fired up with his new authority, he is determined

not to give in to the local authorities' demands and has even threatened

to take the festival to Barcelona.



Given that the festival is the second-biggest earner for Cannes after

the film festival, this is a substantial bargaining chip.



But given the expense and the hostility from the locals in Cannes, would

upping sticks to Barcelona be so bad? It is, after all, a much trendier

destination. With its Gaudi architecture and Miro and Picasso museums,

it is overflowing with art and culture. It has a fantastic nightlife and

an Olympic stadium that could host spectacular awards ceremonies.



Andrew Cracknell, the executive creative director of Bates UK, is

adamant that the festival should move: "It should be a roadshow. It's

meant to be international, so it should be in Moscow, Edinburgh,

Rio ..."



He also resents the prices in Cannes, where a round of drinks can leave

your wallet £100 lighter.



Mind you, there's nothing quite like a Kir Royale on the Croisette's

Carlton Terrace. Barcelona may have its own glamour, but it's mostly

spread out over a sprawling city centre, whereas the compactness of

Cannes means hotels, bars and the Festival Hall are all within easy

walking distance.



After all, what's the point of a good advertising industry jaunt if you

can't bump into your peers propping up the Gutter Bar at four in the

morning?



CANNES VERSUS BARCELONA

CANNES BARCELONA

Cultural

distractions La Colombe D'Or Gaudi architecture,

Miro museum, Picasso

museum

Where to stay The Carlton Hotel Arts

(£139 to pounds (£185 to

1,400 per night) £321 per night)

Cocktails Kir Royale pounds Kir Royale pounds

8.90 at Carlton 7 at Hotel Arts

Venue Palais du Festivals Olympic Stadium

'It' bar Gutter Bar Nick Havanna

'It' restaurant Eden Roc Tragaluiz

Air fare BA business class Heathrow BA business class return

to Nice £746 return from Heathrow to

Barcelona £625

Scenery Views of azure sea Concrete sea front with

peppered with yachts tiny beach

Layout Compact site where you can Urban sprawl

bump into your advertising

pals



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