Deep thoughts from an old master, as the advertising industry prepares to descend on Cannes.
The International Advertising Festival at Cannes, the mother of all boondoggles, the week-long orgy of mildly inebriated self-congratulation and sloppy drunken regrets, is about to open its arms and welcome into its loving bosom thousands of ad monkeys with questionable grooming habits from around the globe. And though at its heart it is most certainly a boondoggle, at the heart of it there remains a fierce competition that can make or break careers. On any given night you will find 900 people drinking at the Gutter Bar; every single one of them would slice you from ear to ear if it meant getting rewarded with a bronze lion. You don’t want to know what they would do for gold.
As I pondered the impending scene on the Côte d’Azure, I couldn’t help being reminded of the introduction to Jonathan Swift’s Tale of a Tub:
WHOEVER hath an ambition to be heard in a crowd, must press, and squeeze, and thrust, and climb with indefatigable pains, till he has exalted himself to a certain degree of altitude above them. Now, in all assemblies, though you wedge them ever so close, we may observe this peculiar property, that over their heads there is room enough, but how to reach it is the difficult point; it being as hard to get quit of number, as of hell.
A better description of award show competition has not been written.