Ask not what you can do for Cannes, but what Cannes can do for you.
Firstly, I must sincerely apologise for using a pun, an exclamation mark AND a bastardised quote in that headline. But hey, this isn't an awards entry, so I figured I could get away with it.
That's just the thing, isn't it? Creatives are usually a carefree and happy bunch, but come The Cannes Lions Awards and we're ferociously scrambling for the next big idea - something that'll bring us home a statue that makes most ad men weak at the knees.
But why? What does Cannes mean for us as creatives in South Africa?
Well, it could be the swarm of over 12,000 creative, marketing, and media gurus from more than 94 countries that gather to share everything that they know. Seven days, more than 500 speakers and more than 250 workshop sessions. If you were ever worried about being the smartest person in the room - at Cannes, chances are you're probably not.
Aah... the glory
It could very well be the fancy galas or the judging jury's scoop on how to win a Grand Prix and beat those over-achieving, bronzed-up Brazilians. And for those industry movers and shakers, the gazillions of networking opportunities work wonders.
Let's not forget the glory. With one of those bad boys in your trophy cabinet, you're first in line to get high-fives, street cred, international recognition, job offers up the wazzoo and perhaps maybe even a half-decent salary.
And sure, Cannes Lions gives you the chance to learn more in a week than you would in 20 years of just doing what your clients want. Take 'The Young Creative Academy', for example. That's one hardcore week of pure, uninterrupted creative development for mini masterminds under the ripe old age of 28. But, since there's only room for a handful of lucky, young Lions at those sorts of things, there's got to be something more that Cannes can do for us as creative folk.
Here's what I think...
I think Cannes puts us in our place. It raises the bar, shuts us up and makes us angry with ourselves. It challenges us to throw away what was good enough and make it better - and that includes our portfolios. It's divine discontent at its finest. David would be so proud.
We're ambitious and impatient, and there's nothing worse than when someone else comes up with your brilliantly glorious idea before you've had the chance to come up with it first.
So here's what I'm going to do about it:
I'm going to keep our clients happy. I'm going to roll out those online banners, take the punches and suck it up when things don't go my way. I'm going to graciously accept budget constraints and I'm going to get the job done well.
... I'm also going to download the 2014 Cannes Lions App, follow the work and get inspired. I'm going to come up with ideas that haven't been briefed in and, one of these days, I'm going to win that Lion.
What are you going to do?
To keep up to date on Cannes 2014 visit our website