News & Views

StorySLAM / My Worst Day in Advertising

by Contagious Team

Advertising legends Harvey Gabor and Bob Pasqualina both held court at the inaugural Cannes Worst Day in Advertising StorySLAM

The legendary creators of Coca-Cola's 'Hilltop' commercial and Alka-Seltzer's 'I can't believe I ate the whole thing' spot each stepped up from the crowd to share long-buried memories of adland misadventure. 

In town to take part in Google's Project Re:Brief seminar, Harvey and Bob went head to head with a competitive field that included Tom Morton from Euro RSCG NYLaurie Coots, CMO at TBWA/WorlwideMovember co-founder Adam Garone and itinerant Google creative Tom Uglow.

Over the course of the evening, we relived the stomach-churning factory tour that culminated in Laurie's conversion to vegetarianism, sniggered at Morton's hip hop caper featuring Busta Rhymes, jazz cigarettes and a toilet, and actually teared up at Shane's spontaneous tribute to his late grandfather. Truly, we were unprepared for genuine, palpable emotion. Hats off to Shane.

Playing to a home crowd, Uglow not only relived a potentially career-limiting email fail, but in doing so laid to rest many an assumption about how clever you have to be to work at Google. Perhaps the two key themes that emerged from the event, though, were firing and hiring, and a deep sense of appreciation for the blonde girls of Berlin.

But this is advertising, and this is Cannes; it is NOT just about taking part. So WHO WON? Awarded the highest score by our panel of industry luminaries, including our own dear leader Paul Kemp-Robertson, it was the effortlessly garrulous Fernanda Romano, founder of Naked, Brazil! Her story of what it's like to be the new girl - and the terrible sense of jeopardy that a simple kiss on the forehead can imply - trounced the opposition, winning Romana a Grand Prix the moon on a stick a profound sense of catharsis and a beach full of people who were relieved that it had happened to her, not them.

We salute the Google Events team for effortlessly combining sand, technology, alcohol and organisation to help us stage an extraordinary event. We also need to thank Organic CEO Marita Scarfi and marketing coordinator Stephanie Park, and Kate Tellers and Dan Kennedy from The Moth for making sure this was, unusually for Cannes, a night to remember. 

What did we learn? That live storytelling is skill. That there is an art to holding a room. That there is always somebody having a worse day than you are. 

And you're never too smart to 'Reply all'.