Feature

Production: Special Report

If anything, Cannes is a reminder that the advertising world is just that - a truly worldwide business. You're as likely to find yourself having morning coffee with a Singaporean creative as enjoying a sundowner on the Carlton Terrace with the head of a US agency network - or skanking on the beach in the early hours with the Brazilian creative posse.

When it comes to the ad production industry, there's a cross-fertilisation between nations like never before. For one thing, agencies are now more aware of the breadth of directorial skill across the globe, thanks in no small part to the Saatchi & Saatchi New Directors' Showcase. Now in its 17th year, the annual trawl through 500 or so reels of work, distilled by the agency's worldwide creative board to a shortlist for display at Cannes, serves up a meze of fresh talent.

Saatchis' own New York office used an Australian director to shoot a recent campaign. Not wildly avant-garde, you might say, yet something its worldwide creative director, Bob Isherwood, says would not have happened until recently and not without the showcase.

For another thing, production houses are having to look beyond their own territories - geographical and structural - as they change their business models to suit a new, digital environment.

Budgetary pressures are leading some to outsource to regions supplying cheaper labour, such as India; others are reaching out to geographically remote clients with new technology that allows high-definition files to be sent in almost real time. Yet more are extending their services beyond video content to website design and viral ad creation.

As the tide rolls in on yet another year at Cannes, the globe - and particularly the advertising world - will doubtless seem an even smaller place still. Yet, hopefully, the Festival will serve to remind us also of the incredible diversity of creativity within it.

Topics