ON THE CAM­PAIGN COUCH WITH JB

Campaign UK - - NEWS - Jeremy Bull­more wel­comes ques­tions via cam­paign@ hay­mar­ket.com or by tweet­ing @Cam­paign­mag with the hash­tag #Askbull­more

QMy chief ex­ec­u­tive and fi­nan­cial di­rec­tor are con­cerned over our ad­ver­tis­ing ap­pear­ing next to hate speech and sen­si­tive con­tent on so­cial me­dia chan­nels. I have al­ready pulled our dis­play ad­ver­tis­ing from Google, but he wants me to make a public state­ment on this. I think this would be un­wise grand­stand­ing, es­pe­cially as we have only pulled our dis­play ads. How should I pro­ceed? Those who ac­cept your money in ex­change for ad­ver­tis­ing space should thereby ac­cept re­spon­si­bil­ity for see­ing that your ad­ver­tise­ment keeps good com­pany. If they fail to do so, you should go else­where.

Is it any more dif­fi­cult than that?

QIs it worth go­ing to Cannes? I feel all my team do out there is drink rosé and soak up the sun for a week. A funny time to ask. A week from now, you’ll be in a far bet­ter po­si­tion to an­swer this ques­tion than I am. But I’m pretty prac­tised at sound­ing au­thor­i­ta­tive on sub­jects about which I know lit­tle so I’m happy to oblige.

I’ve fol­lowed the devel­op­ment of Cannes from a dis­tance and I can’t say I’ve liked what I’ve imag­ined. Since I haven’t ac­tu­ally been to Cannes this cen­tury, nor for a decade or two be­fore that, please feel free to dis­re­gard ev­ery­thing I say. Ig­no­rance and envy form a poor ba­sis for ac­cu­rate, ob­jec­tive re­port­ing.

Once upon a time, long for­got­ten, the Cannes ad­ver­tis­ing film fes­ti­val came into be­ing as a de­fence against that up­start medium tele­vi­sion. Only cin­ema ad­ver­tise­ments were el­i­gi­ble. No tele­vi­sion com­mer­cials were ac­cepted, nor even spo­ken of.

Pearl & Dean was a ma­jor spon­sor and notable at­ten­dees in­cluded, in the words of one acer­bic del­e­gate, “Ernie and sev­eral other un­cul­tured Pearls”. The de­fence failed.

There was then a happy pe­riod when only cre­ative peo­ple from agen­cies and pro­duc­tion houses at­tended: no suits, no-one from man­age­ment and cer­tainly no clients. French pro­duc­tion com­pa­nies, know­ing the lan­guage and how to bag the best venues, gave the best par­ties. No­body drank rosé. Ev­ery so of­ten, Cannes went to Venice.

As a way of catching up with the world’s most in­ter­est­ing com­mer­cial pro­duc­tion, and get­ting to know peo­ple with whom you might want to work (or most cer­tainly wouldn’t), it was a few days plea­sur­ably and use­fully spent. Pro­duc­ers and writ­ers and di­rec­tors val­ued it, tak­ing the se­ri­ous bits se­ri­ously but not the rest. It was par­tic­u­larly val­ued be­cause it was ex­clu­sively theirs: out­siders were ex­cluded. Win­ning was con­sid­ered good but never a mat­ter of life or death. When clients were told their work had won, they were am­biva­lent. Some saw suc­cess as con­fir­ma­tion that their agen­cies were mak­ing com­mer­cials to fur­ther them­selves rather than the brands, while others would won­der aloud why their work never seemed to win. Very grown-up.

When the reel of win­ners was shown later at the Odeon in Le­ices­ter Square, ev­ery­one could see the work. They were good times.

Now, at least from a dis­tance, Cannes seems to have got a bit above it­self. It was never meant to be a way of keep­ing score. It was never meant to be so big or so ex­pen­sive. It’s no longer the val­ued pre­serve of cre­ative peo­ple.

But it’s a bit late now to pull out. Maybe next year?

QAre peo­ple who worry about their work/life bal­ance sim­ply in the wrong job? If you’re ex­cep­tion­ally lucky in your ca­reer, the fol­low­ing will be true. You will hugely en­joy your job; it will be men­tally and cre­atively de­mand­ing; it will be in a com­pet­i­tive busi­ness; you will be bet­ter at it than most; you will be part of a group that you both like and re­spect.

All of which quite in­evitably means that you will be asked to do things af­ter hours, at week­ends, at short no­tice, against dead­lines, when it’s not strictly on your patch – and you will al­ways agree to do them. So the luck­ier you are in your work, the greater the prob­lem with your work/life bal­ance. But that doesn’t mean that you un­der­value your life. Nor does it mean that you’re in the wrong job.

Try de­cid­ing to switch to a nine-to-five, strictly-five-days-only, never-dis­turb-me-at-week­ends, legally en­force­able con­tract. The only jobs on of­fer will be jobs that would make you un­liv­able-with at home.

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