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Cannes 2013: A CEO’s Perspective

Trends and Insight 584 Add to collection

Jean-Paul Burge, BBDO President, South East Asia & CEO, Singapore

Cannes 2013: A CEO’s Perspective

If I had the time to write a book about our industry, I would structure it around avoiding the business altogether if you don’t fundamentally care about creativity. So, if you do work in our industry you should care deeply about creativity and you should care about Cannes.

 
With over 11,000 representatives of the creative industries coming together from across the globe to meet, share ideas and compete, the Cannes Lions is simply the biggest and most prestigious advertising festival in the world.

 
Everyone in the industry should try to get to it at least once in his or her career. Although the Festival offers the opportunity to network, hear and see some of the world’s best speakers, and of course enjoy oneself, the main purpose of it is, and must remain, to celebrate and promote a creative agenda.

 
At BBDO we articulate that as ‘the work, the work, the work’. Put simply - in the absence of great work, nothing else matters.  Because it is great work that builds brands, sells products, changes consumer behavior and makes us proud to be in this business.  
 

And it is at Cannes that you will find great work. With so much in one place it can be overwhelming at times, but it serves as a benchmark of the best we can offer and therefore an immersion into how our industry is doing.
 

This year, I expect to see a continuing trend of more and better creative work coming from Asia and other developing regions. This work is starting to find its own voice and is more deeply rooted in local consumer insights. When I first came to the region ten years ago, it was all about Thailand, and a bit of the Philippines and Singapore. Today every market is in it, China and India are leading, and Thailand and the Philippines are still there. Singapore has become a hub for the region and as such punches well above its weight.
 

I also expect to see the less traditional mediums continue their growing momentum when it comes to digital marketing. In many ways all bets are off, and each year there is better and more surprising work. Much of the enjoyment of the Festival counter-intuitively comes from walking around thinking ‘I wish we had done that’.
 

However, what I am most looking forward to is seeing inspiring work that is both real and has been highly effective. The stuff we should all be proud of and that proves how powerful what we do is, when done right.
 

I’m also looking forward to hearing some seriously good speakers. The sort of people you don’t normally have a chance to hear.
 

Finally, let’s not forget that it is a competition and we’re in it to win it. Before each awards presentation there will be a growing tension and much celebration for those agencies that have brought the best work. As the days go by there will be tallying of points and finally a climax when network of the year is announced.
 

I started by saying that you shouldn’t bother being in the business if you don’t care about creativity; well let me add that you should also avoid the business if you aren’t competitive.

 
We want to win, and we want to set creative benchmarks for the year. 
 

And it’s at Cannes that we get to do this.
 

Who will win big? Hopefully BBDO.
 

Jean-Paul Burge
President South East Asia & CEO Singapore, BBDO    

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BBDO Asia, Wed, 12 Jun 2013 15:51:29 GMT