PERSPECTIVE: Count on Cannes to distract us from the Cordiant maelstrom

Some events in this business take on a significance that goes beyond the fact of their happening. The battle for Cordiant, which Sir Martin Sorrell looks set to win, is one of them. It is evidence of Sorrell's aim to return the WPP group to the position of number-one marketing services group in the world. It has highlighted in colourful and sometimes gruesome detail the ferocious competition between Sorrell and his old foe, Publicis' Maurice Levy. It is an advertising story that has nothing to do with advertising or clients and everything to do with the machinations of City players locked in battle over now virtually worthless shares.

For the lucky few this week, there is the diversion of a week on the Cote d'Azur, where an entirely unrepresentative sample of the ad industry can be observed quaffing rose and Champagne at sky-high Martinez prices, guzzling caviar and shagging anything that moves. Ridiculous, isn't it?

Everyone's beaten to a pulp by budget cuts, redundancies and the certainty that the Cordiant saga will bring even more and you still need thousands of pounds to match four days on the Cote d'Azur.

Throughout this week, the judges will have sweated, literally, over more than 16,000 entries. That staggering figure is proof that, even in these days of awards cynicism, recognition - visible, tangible, stick-it-on-the-wall recognition - is still greatly revered.

As I write this, it's too early to know the film winners, but three look set to win big. There is the charming Peugeot commercial, "the sculptor", which was made by the Milan-based Euro RSCG MCM. Evidence that US writers turn out better comedy spots than anyone else comes in the form of MTV Latin America's "channel change", "smells like Britney" and "baby" ads, created by the Miami agency La Comunidad. And last, but not least, if Wieden & Kennedy's "cog" doesn't bag a Lion there's no justice in the world, for, as we all know, we can count on the fingers of a mitten the creative who has never referenced another's work.

It looks like this year's festival will be a respectable, though certainly not a vintage, gathering of the clans in terms of the overall standard of entries. But thankfully, if Leo Burnett's uncannily reliable predictions reel is anything to go by, it seems the festival will be largely free of ads of the South American "let's glue granny to the floor" or the Japanese "let's give the lady with toothache an ice-cream" variety. Hear hear to that.

Talking of turkeys, readers can for the first time nominate Picks and Turkeys of the Week by using the winningly titled e-mail addresses picks.

campaign@haynet.com and turkeys.campaign@haynet.com. Anonymity is guaranteed, but be aware that Campaign editors, unlike Cannes jurors, are trained to spot political bias a mile off. Robin Wight and anybody at WCRS with a large orange axe to grind, you have been warned.

Topics