Editorial: Why adland can't afford to miss Cannes this year

Even when times were good, the ad industry was always a bit uncomfortable about Cannes.

The only way it could justify the self-indulgent week on the Riviera was to convince itself that the annual spree bore no relation to reality, so it might as well lay back on the sun-loungers and enjoy it.

This year, the discomfort has been far more palpable. Yacht parties and other agency jollies have been conspicuous by their absence. Hardly surprising when many agency staffers at home have either had their wages frozen or are in fear of losing their jobs. Or both.

But while it's right that excesses should be kept in check, it would be tragic indeed if austerity proved to be the festival's undoing. No other festival draws the finest creative work from around the world quite like Cannes. It's a place like no other for creatives to be stimulated and inspired.

It's in austere times like this that Cannes becomes more relevant. Not for many years has the need for effective and innovative communication been more important to clients fighting the recession. Further, there is worrying evidence to suggest the UK is no longer the world's creative top dog and needs some of the fresh impetus that Cannes can give.

There will probably always be some collective misgivings about Cannes. What's unarguable is that without such impetus, UK advertising creativity faces the threat of being sidelined in a changing world order.