Steffan Postaer’s Guide to the Species in Cannes

newsImg_20090108145230All right folks, this is my official Cannes guide to people watching. For the sake of this discussion, we will be limiting our research to only advertising professionals migrating here for the International Advertising Festival.

As you know, species from all over the world congregate on this balmy coast to network and compete against one another for Lions. The creatures have much in common, but let us focus on the differences, for that will make them easier to tell apart.

We begin with the European varieties, as Cannes falls within their home continent. By far the most common, the Anglos (UK, German, Dutch and French) can be quickly identified by their white skin, often pink from too much sun and alcohol. Rarely do they tan. A telltale occurrence among males is the accumulation of facial hair, otherwise known as “scruff.” They usually sport blue jeans and worn tee shirts, displaying trendy illustrations or monikers from various film production companies. As they are often hung over, this species can be aloof or aggressive, particularly if they are still drinking. Females can be quite alluring or coarse, depending on their exposure to sun and alcohol.

The easiest way to spot the American advertising professional is to look for excess weight, which manifests itself in both males and females of the species. Adding to their load, they love to carry things. Cameras, books, purses, maps, laptops and diet colas are common. Like their European counterparts, often Americans are sunburned and hung over. Despite making them look foolish, males often wear shorts and flip-flops. Females know better and strive to imitate the dress patterns of their European counterparts.

Differing Asian species can be tricky to tell apart as they all have black hair (unless dyed) and are uniformly thin. These creatures adore technology and often carry the latest forms. They have a unique fashion sense, resembling “punk” but usually more stylized. Hair is often tussled or spiked. If wearing eye-glasses, they are exaggerated and “funky.” More so than any other group, the Asian is most comfortable in packs, often consisting of four or more. Groups can be seen congregating in front of the Palais, texting.

The Latam groups are by far the most fashionable. Tight fitting clothes of high style mark this species. The males typically have beards and mustaches, projecting a swarthy, masculine look irresistible to females of all kinds. In turn, the females are stunning, capable of stirring male populations and causing palpable changes upon entering a room. Plumage is striking in Latams; they share many of the same qualities as rock stars. As would be expected, these groups are loud and vivacious. Creativity runs high and they regard winning Lions as sacred.

Scattered at Cannes, Middle Eastern ad people gather for their own festival in Dubai. Indian ad professionals are fairly common here, often seen mingling with European or American species.

Other than at the Palais, all species can be found at the watering hole known affectionately as the Gutter Bar. It is here that the various species intermingle, often recklessly. The best viewing, however, takes place very, very late. One must watch for broken glass.

Steffan Postaer, Chairman and CCO of Euro RSCG Worldwide Chicago. He just completed a novel about God and Advertising and posts regularly on his blog, Gods of Advertising.

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