GLOBAL BRIEF: Affable adman takes Cannes - What can a new president offer adland’s best-known festival, Karen Yates asks

Donald Gunn has got one of those jobs - like David Beckham’s agent or Sharon Stone’s dresser - that makes his contemporaries turn green.

Donald Gunn has got one of those jobs - like David Beckham’s agent

or Sharon Stone’s dresser - that makes his contemporaries turn

green.



As the worldwide head of creative resources for a top ten agency, he

divides his time between watching ads (exotic travel, sumptuous meals

etc), attending advertising festivals (ditto) and travelling the world

to make sure his network, Leo Burnett, stays up to creative scratch.



So it came as no surprise that on his retirement, Gunn is in line for

what appears to be one of adland’s more glittering sinecures - president

of the Cannes International Advertising Festival (Campaign, last

week).



True, its chairman, Roger Hatchuel, has the reputation for being a bit

... well ... French. But his son, Romain, has been drafted in to do the

hard work of running the festival, and Roger will stay firmly in the

front line. So what exactly is Gunn going to do?



Since Cannes began nearly half a century ago, it has gone from a modest

forum for cinema commercials to the world’s foremost international ad

competition. But although it is adland’s favourite baby, feelings can

become strained. There are the whinges about the expense of Cannes, for

example, or the domination of the anglophone countries, and through it

all an on-again, off-again relationship with the press.



Gunn will bring to the equation some enviable ties with the fourth

estate, built up through years of swapping ads and ideas from far-flung

parts of the globe.



And his credentials are even more impeccable with agencies. Unlike

Hatchuel, who spent most of his early life as a client at Procter &

Gamble, Gunn is plugged into what agencies want out of the competition

and he can spot a potential Cannes juror at a hundred yards.



’Cannes is much more than a competition,’ Hatchuel says, ’it’s a

festival and we want to gather people into seminars and workshops. Many

people think it’s an easy thing running Cannes, but it’s very time- and

imagination-consuming. We need someone from the advertising world.’



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