CANNES (written by ALİ TARAN)


I go to Cannes for the first time as a member of the press and outdoor jury, elected by Milliyet, the representative of the Cannes Advertising Festival in Turkey. In fact, jury member or not, it is my first time in Cannes.

During check-in, the stewardess asked me: “The plane to Nice, right?” and I replied: “No, Cannes”. Then she said, “This is the plane to Nice”, but after a short silence she said, “There isn’t an airport in Cannes, you will go from Nice, I got confused too.”

I fly Turkish Airlines. Of course, in Business-Class, to be able to taste the pleasure of saying “no thanks” when they serve the water-orange juice-champagne trio, before the plane takes off; and, as always, I think about what sort of an advertisement I would create if one day, THY were to come to us for advertising. Could I get people to perceive THY positively? God knows what creative ideas I would come up with! I even think up a few slogan alternatives. For example, “Those with wings fly”,”This is the sky! You can’t do everthing you want”, “These Turks fly so much” etc….
I meet a few acquaintances in the plane. We say “hello” to each other from a distance. They hand mimic the question, “where to?” I draw my mouth tight, and extending my lips forward in an exaggerated manner, I gesture the word “jury”, meaning, “I am going to Cannes on duty; not for a purposeless vacation like you are.” I mean to say, “I am a ‘selected’ person.”

The French man sitting beside me gets on my nerves, as he tries to address the stewardesses with his weak Turkish. He thinks he will attract my attention, I will say something like “Oh! So you speak Turkish!”, and that will be the beginning of a conversation. However, wait a minute, what if this guy is an important person in an important company, and I am about to miss out a great opportunity. Then I think, “So what if I’m missing out, this suits me; I have missed out many opportunities before, and what happened? Nothing” and I look through Sky-Life magazine as if I were seriously analyzing it. The man beside me falls asleep; or he tries to attract my attention by pretending that he is asleep, I don’t know.

We landed in Nice. Of course, we will land in Nice; there is no airport in Cannes. As soon as we landed, we Turks switched on our cell phones. “We have landed”, it’s hot, really hot”, “What is it like over there, is it raining”?

I passed through a place like customs, no I didn’t; the man pointed at me and called me, asking “Tobacco”. I said “Yes, cigar”. He said something like “jö rerövyen”, telling me to show it to him. I did, he looked at the cigars and then he made a gesture with his hands to “passé”, meaning something like “Welcome to France.” I exited the gate. I didn’t see my name on the signboards that some men were holding. Then where am I? I called my secretary and asked if I wasn’t going to be met. She called me in two minutes; she had reached an official that had informed her that, there was a person waiting for me at the airport. After a short while, a lady came, with a signboard in her hand, with my name elegantly written on it. I was so pleased and touched that I almost burst out in tears. At that moment, someone touched my back. He was the chauffer meet me. I got in the car, crying. Then, the Hotel Carlton… The room is great. It has a TV. The Adult Channel is there. There is a bide. What else could I ask for?

The first evening, there is an introduction dinner for the jury. Concerning attire, the program mentions “smart casual.” I think, “I know what casual is, but what’s with the smart? As I know, smart means someone with brains, someone clever, but what does this word have to do with attire? Grumbling to myself, “Ali boy, you are a creative person, figure out what this means.” I put on something I thought was suitable, and went to the introduction dinner, which was in a special room of the hotel.

Adjusting the pace of my walk and which hand I would put in my pocket, I entered the dining room giving the impression with my looks and manners that I am a very well known advertising man in Turkey, and that I have been coming here for years. It is a medium sized room opening to the terrace, with a big crystal chandelier and 7-8 round tables. There are name cards on the tables showing who will sit where and about 20-30 people. Everybody has a glass in one hand and a cigarette in the other. They are forming groups of 2 or 3 people. They chat and laugh loudly; it is the classical scene of a cocktail from anywhere in the world. I do not drink or smoke. I do not like these kinds of chats, so I find myself in a discomforting environment... Then, with the mannerism of Peter Sellers in “Party”, I start reading the name cards on the tables while trying to look natural, in order to find my seat, and figure out what “smart casual” in attire means, through stealthily observing the participants. Now and then, I come eye to eye with someone; I cannot do anything else but foolishly smile at him. Right at that smiling moment, I let out a sound like “ihihi”, that only I can hear.

I am wearing the long earring my wife Selma has made; so, what if these guys have a different impression about me… So, I find my table. My name has been written correctly. (I was very happy about this as in France they usually write my name as Tarzan). I walked towards the terrace and smiled at a group of three. They immediately extended their hands to introduce themselves. Questions like, “Which country do you come from?” or “Which jury are you on?” float around. An English man I met said: “I am on the Direct Jury”. I said “Ooo, are you a film director?” He said, “No, I am a creative director.” Then someone else said, “I am on the direct jury”, “Ahaa, you are a film director?” He said, “No”. Later I realized that the direct jury is the “direct marketing” jury.

We begin to take our seats at the tables around 21:00. At my table, in addition to myself, opposite me there is a 6-year-old girl sitting between her mother and father while there is a Philippines lady next to me and an Indian gentleman on my other side with his wife beside him. We chat about the types of foods that we eat in our countries. I told them about the “Turning Kebab” and they found it very interesting.

We departed with the understanding that we would meet and go to the Festival Palace all together at 08:30 in the morning. I went to my room, and to my surprise, there was a metal box on the table, on which it was written, “Necessities for the jury.” I opened it at once. Inside the box, there was a kind of roulette dice to be used when making decisions, a few wafer type bars for restoring energy through difficult and tiring hours, some Visine eye-drops, a T-shirt and some other humorous things. I couldn’t stop laughing until I fell tired of laughter and fell asleep around midnight.

At this point, you must be wondering... I can almost hear you say, “What about smart casual attire? Why haven’t you mentioned it again so far?” As I understand it,“ smart casual” attire for men means wearing tongs or rubber shoes, with loose, beige or dark brown trousers and wearing short sleeved shirts without jackets like T-shirts with flower or square designs, worn with shorts having lots of pockets. For women, smart casual means an outfit that leaves the breast line completely out in the open (of course not for Asian women), the right dress with one shoulder or with slim straps or t-shirts leaving the belly in the open, and worn with thin, heeled or high heeled shoes. What did I wear? Let’s just say that if their attire was“smart casual”, then mine was“genius casual”.

Then, as jurors that have not really united yet, in the morning, we each seat ourselves at an individual table and have breakfast. At 08:30, we gather in the lobby, and walk towards the Festival Palace. We are about 24 people. I have conversation with a Japanese juror... I tell him that I was in Tokyo for the world cup. He says: “Aaaaaaa... Diddulaykitotyo?” I reply: “Wasdımining?” he says: “Aaaaaaaa!” A Dutch juror says, “Finnibaaşe” to me. I say “Yes, Fanhoydonk!” “Ayaks?,. He replies, “Feyenooord.” I speed up a bit and catch up with the group up ahead. Pointing at the beach, I ask, “Verisdıtaplıss?”, which means, “What a long way, are we going to walk this route every morning?” A Portuguese juror answers: “ Deykamautindıaftırnuun”, that is,” Walking is very good for health, why are you complaining my Turkish Jury Member Friend…”

(At this point, I mailed my writing to my daughter who lives in Paris, telling her, “I am writing my impressions about “Cannes”. Look at it and tell me if you like it.” I received her reply by mail, “Daddy, about the section in which you wonder whether or not the man sitting next to you might is an important person, and whether or not you may lose your opportunity…People will think that Ali Taran sees every occasion as an opportunist, to gain clients. Instead of speaking about incidents, you speak about yourself. Isn’t this ironic? A degustation? People might think that you have polymerized. Mocking oneself is an indication of high intelligence…The section in which you proceed to the dinner… Do you think it might signify the opposite of “Ali Taran is a self-assured person”… “) For God’s sake, just read and smile, or don’t smile, just let it go, right? No… That part is so and so, the other part is such and such. Well, what do you expect? Whose daughter is she?

At the Palace, following a very tight security check at the back door for artists, we squeezed onto a lift, as a group of 6-7. I enter the lift first so that I can get out last. We ascend to the 3rd floor. To my surprise, the lift slowed down and stopped a few seconds later. There is a gray wall in front of us, and a deep silence in the lift… Everyone is staring at me. In the midst of trying to construct the English version of what I was thinking, which was,” Don’t look at me like that, yes I am a Turk I should be the most courageous and strong person among us but, no, I am also one of those who has lost those attributes during certain phases in life, and has turned out to be a normal person like you. Don’t look at me with those begging eyes. If we live a difficulty, we will have to solve it all together.” I realized that the exit from the lift was not on the side we had gotten in on, but on the opposite side, and that the door was just behind me. Under my leadership, we get off the lift.

There are 2-3 rows of chairs placed all around. We place ourselves there as the press and outdoor jury. They tell us what the jury will do and how. There are 11.700 participants. The Chinese juror continuously shoots videos. They separated the jury into four parts for the first elimination; each group goes to a room having big and wide tables with name cards on them. At the back, there is a table with tea, coffee, cookies, fruit, cold drinks etc. on it. The atmosphere is not bad. Naturally, the atmosphere is important, as we will spend about 4-5 days here.

They gave us all a “barcode reader device”. We will use it to read various barcodes. At first, we read the barcode on the paper where our name was written “bip”; secondly, the barcodes on the covers of folders, each including 15-20 works “bip”; then the barcode of the work “bip” and finally the barcode stuck on the right side of the table determining the scores ”bip.” The scores are from 2 to 9 and we read the barcode of the score we choose. When the procedure on a folder finishes, all the work on the folder ends. Then comes the other folder, “bip,bip,bip,bip”. If there is anything that we do not understand, like a title, advertisement etc, we may call the people on duty and ask for help. We cannot speak loudly or make arguments. Smoking is allowed in the room. I look at the other members; some have taken their shoes off and vote. People didn’t know what to wear on the first day; I am the only one with shorts and a T-shirt. I would like to point out a small detail: When I left for Cannes, I thought I was going to be the oldest jury member; no Sir, there are men and women much older than I am. As we grow closer, discussions about blood pressure and grandchildren started. “Aaa, you don’t look your age” “I have a daughter from my second marriage”, “Today, it is very hot, and the humidity is terrible”… “The best is garlic; it stabilizes blood pressure”, so on … I was sitting with a Canadian juror within a group of 4-5 people, he said, “Hello girls” to the 2 young girls passing. I was just thinking “Shame on you. This isn’t something to be done in such a civilized place”; the man said, “My daughter, big girl.” They had come as a family. The man was in his mid fifties whereas I am still in my early fifties.

The first day of the jury was all right. Then it was lunchtime. We cued on a hot terrace to fetch cold starters from the open buffet and after feeding ourselves, we began to work again. I looked at the tables. It looks like “lunch drinks” rather than “lunch food”. Everyone fetched wine. You would think ours is a “wine tasting jury”.

It was about 17:00 hours in the evening and that day’s work finished. They take each juror to a small room, take a quick photo and give him an identity card to be worn around the neck. This card is for exits and entrances. We put on our cards. We start to walk towards the hotel in small groups. We see people passing by. We think that seeing the cards on our necks, they will point to us, and talk among themselves,” look, they must be important people”; however, there is no such thing; these people here are so used to festivals, juries, awards and consequently identity cards around necks.
All the jury members say the same thing, “There isn’t much significant work this year, it is quite ordinary; it was much better in the previous years, and the highest score I gave was “4”, what about you?”

I retired to my room. Rather than go down and eat alone, I preferred to have dinner in the room with the CNN correspondent. As a result, I switched on the TV and ordered some food from room serv ice. I ate, slept and got up at 05:00 in the morning. I looked from the balcony window, there was a special car outside and they were washing the pavements with pressurized water. I saw a yacht with two shafts; this is The Savarona… No, no I am not mistaken, it is The Savarona, gazing the Cannes shores coyly; it is as if saying to me “Both of us are Turkish; you, as a jury member on the land whereas me representative on the seas as a two shafts yacht. I think,”To go crazy, due to loneliness, must be something like this”. I say goodbye to The Savarona and go downstairs for breakfast.
It is 08:30 hours. We gather in the lobby. Almost all the jury members are in shorts and T-shirts. I gaze around with looks saying “What’s up? I thought you knew everything best. So you have chosen my style”. We walk towards the Festival Palace all together again. Jurors talk to each other: “I haven’t seen anything that bounces me, anything that I can say “wow”… I scored 4 at most, what about you? “The Chinese juror shoots videos. We walk but with something different, this time; our identities were hanged on our necks. Some tied them to the handle of their bags. I hanged mine on my neck. Am I being a hick, no, I cannot act like a hick; who wears an earring like me? Would the hair of a hick man be like this? Some people had talked about my earring and hair to a beloved advertiser friend of mine in İstanbul. He said to someone from our agency: “Ali Taran wonders around like Yavuz Sultan Selim in Cannes; Has he had his hair cut that style to look younger?.” When I hear this, the way I walk changes, the tone of my voice gets harsher: while I approach towards the group in front, I scream “Watch out, Ally Terren is coming”.

The lift again, 3. Floor.. This time, less problems... Same tables as yesterday... The work begins, bip, bip, bip, bip. Lunch drinks. Return to the hotel at 18:30 in the evening… The first evaluation is over. The short list is definite now. The results are in the computer. During the morning session the following day, we will evaluate the short list with the same method and eliminate 50%. In the afternoon, we will evaluate the award list nominees with “discussion” system, and determine the golden, silver and bronze awards. A small detail: In this category, there isn’t only one golden, one silver and one bronze award; the jury may give golden, silver and bronze awards as many as they want or may not give at all.

Additonally, the mentioned “most difficult day” finally came. As all the jury members, we passed to another room and sat on the U shaped tables. At first, outdoor… Tall panels in the middle of U… The works left in the award list are fastened to the panels with magnet in accordance with its categories. The jury leader standing up directs the works and the session. Smoking is not allowed. The Chinese juror shoots videos. Showing the works, the jury leader asks “Gold?” Hands raise, a person on duty loudly counts. If the votes of the 2/3 jury members were not taken, no gold granted. This time the jury leader asks: “Silver?”, hands raise and are counted again. Anybody can state his views about any work, may raise objections concerning the originality of the work. It is indeed an outdoor work. The Spanish juror objected something and produced information like evidence; as a result, they took it out of the award list. In this voting, I understand better that rather than the total value of an advertisement, strikingness of an opinion affects the jury. Because, the most important features of advertisement, like frequency, duration of broadcasting, its continuity and country conception are all out of subject. Besides, the native language of the advertisement is mostly English; all the conversations, correspondence, announcements, billboards are all in English.

Award winners began to become clear. The discussion environment is rather influential in award giving. If you take word and defend your view with appropriate words, the jury scrutinizes their decision and the colour of the award granting may change. I raised a few opposite views like that and got the result. The awards begin to be known now, but no work from Turkey in the award list. We finished 3-4 categories, the remaining ones will be evaluated the following day.

Sometime in between, I got hold of my telephone and started to talk – of course, in English – in a tone of voice that everybody could hear me: “No mother, we didn’t win any awards. It is meaningless to cry for this, mother.” The leader of the jury comes near me, being a little upset, he says: “Mothers are all the same at every age, aren’t they?” A few jury members giggle, I thought I heard one saying to the other “He is Ali, whatever he does is all right.”

The concerned and authorized executives of Milliyet of which we are the invitees arrived in Cannes. The most authorized one called me and came to our hotel to have coffee in the morning. We sat at the cafe of the hotel. Just I was going to order something, the lady reached out and ordered some things with her fluent French. I guess she ordered something special as her talk lasted long. I understand French a little but she spoke the French language so well that I couldn’t catch a word of it. While we chatted, the waiter came with milk and fresh carrot juice. So the lady wanted to make something pleasant and ordered carrot juice with milk. Yet, they have not put the milk inside, but brought it separately so that the customer puts it himself. I didn’t want to be rude, so I drank it together. It is not bad; there may be things in life that I may not know. I can not know everything.

We went to bed at night and got up the next morning. We continued our work from where we left. The outdoor finished. Now we go to the press. The awards were determined with the same methods. That finished too. Afterwards, it was time for the Grand Prix awards. The gold award winners were hanged side-by-side, closed voting and the results. The evaluations were over.

My wife Selma was to arrrive in Cannes. We intended to have a few days holiday after the award ceremony, parties etc. The plane will arrive in Nice airport around 16:00 and of course, I will meet her. No, I will not be able to do so. The same authorized lady said:”We will also go to the airport, we’ll go together” while I said “No, I go by myself, the car etc”, she said “we come and pick you from the hotel around 14:00.” I asked: “You know how to drive to the airport, don’t you?” She said: “of course, our friend always drives there. He knows these places very well”. “Our friend” is Namoet. He is a Turk and I know him from İstanbul. I didn’t want to offend him. Therefore, I said. “All right, I will be ready at 14:00.” It was 14:30 and nobody came. I said to myself: “Eh, you will see, I will write all about these; in fact, I am writing. Towards 15:00 hours, I received a call, with apologies and stating reason for delay etc... Then they arrived. A rather small car… Namoet drives. The lady passed to the back of the car and I sat in the front. We talked during the drive. The lady at the back continuously gives instructions: “put this there, put that there”, “I am on the way to the airport etc.” Then Namoet’s cell phone rang; Arzu calls. The lady broke in from the back “Tell Arzu, not to go and wait.” Then I noticed that Namoet’s face was sulky. I asked him what the matter was. He said:. “I think, we have missed the turning to the airport. The words “maybe, I think, I guess, don’t worry etc.” are the words I dislike most. That’s why the word in Naomed’s sentence” I guess” was enough to annoy me. I said to myself “Shut up, Ali. Shut your mouth and don’t say a word. Don’t hurt the people around, and don’t get upset yourself either.” but who listened, I raised the tone of my voice. A reply came from the back and I understood at once that it was in Hebrew language” Rapidly thinking, I turned my back: “Hah, we will scramble now,” but, she didn’t say it to me, she was talking with an acquaintance on the phone. We entered a sideroad. The airport cannot be nearby as I see no planes landing or taking off. The lady said: “Let’s ask that petrol station” But the place she meant was not a petrol station; however, Namoet stopped without any objections. Again, that fluent French and the carrot juice type result… e are at the industrial region now. “Stop, stop, and let us ask these”...“Silvüple, keskilndirövyen döareporte?” So we go towards somewhere, instructions to Namoet “A-8, look, A-8, don’t leave it and continue from the A-8’! I talk to myself inside the car: “For God’s sake, my wife is about to land.” What are all these happening, ah stupid me, Why did you follow these people? You have become famous by not doing what others say. Why didn’t you simply take a taxi and go the airport? Why?” We stopped at a red light. There was a huge truck beside us; I said “let’s ask him.” The lady opened the window: “jöskiladu airoportdönis mercibien?” The driver showed ahead, nosedived and showed up again with his hand. I said. “ok, he says take the subway.” We drive on. Red lights again. The same truck beside us again.. “Shall I ask again?” I screamed out “No”. Coınsequently, a cold atmosphere in the car… “Ohh” it is good that Namoet increased the volume of the air-conditioning.

We finally arrived at the airport. The plane landed and my wife was there. She traveled on the same plane together with the top-level executives, significant managers and columnists of Milliyet. We kissed. I guaranteed myself this time and got in a different car. Hello Cannes... “Look dear, here is Rue de Croset, this is Palace de Festival, what you see over there is The Savarona” I do not know what that is.” “We are invited for dinner by Milliyet tonight, what shall we wear? We will wear something smart casual, what does it mean? Don’t you worry, I know…”

We have dinner in a very nice place that evening. Who are not there? For example, our ambassador Uluç Özülker and his wife are not there because they will join the dinner later and honour us. The Turkish media juror Demet İkiler and her husband Volkan will participate the “Rhythm of Turkey” evening and Burhan Öçal will be the head actor of the night. We are introduced awhile, “Ali Taran, you must have heard his name, the famous advertising man” He replies “No, I haven’t”. I said to him: “Look Burhan, now you have made the severest mistake of your life; and when you play all alone tomorrow evening, in the crowd in the dark, imagine how I can wipe you out with my creativity fired by revenge.” He didn’t show it but he got scared to death. “How do I know? He left the steak on the plate saying “this is not cooked well”. What else could the poor man have done? He has lost his appetite out of fear.

The following day, there is a press conference at 10:00. We walk again to the Festival Palace for the last time. They have set up a platform from one end to another of a wall of the last jury room, which is 2 meters width and 40 cm high and 40 cms. above the floor. They put tables on the front side of the platform. The width of the space after the tables is more than one meter and they have placed chairs there in two rows. On the chairs, there are papers with the names of the jury members. My place is on the second row. A congested, narrow and uncomfortable settling… Opposite us, there are about 30 to 40 press members who filled the rest of the hall. The Chinese juror shoots videos. I shouted: “Can everybody see me?” Cameras work but no one takes my photo. If they don’t do it, I’ll make them take my photo; when I see the camera on eye, I throw myself into the shot. I even wave at some correspondents and call them. I put my arm on the shoulder of the juror in front and have my photos taken. Then I looked around and saw the Marketing Beauty Günseli Turkey, taking my photo with an instant camera. “My dear God, Thank you for that. I saw some people taking photos with their cell phones, thanks for that.” Then the conference started. Press correspondents take words and direct questions to the jury members they choose. Let me mention some of the questions, as much I remember of course… Question: Why couldn't America receive many awards this year? Question: How is it possible that America was not given the big awards this year? Question: Can you enumerate the reasons why America had an unsuccessful festival this yea? Question: Can you explain why the great award was given to Lego, and not to the outdoor advertisement of the American TIME magazine?

The press conference ends in 40-45 minutes. We proceed to another room to evaluate the works of the Young Creators, and give golden, silver and bronze awards for their works. After that, I go to the Milliyet Stand. We chat a little. Selma comes and we visit the section of the exhibited works. A few young friends from Turkey come beside us and join our conversation. I do not remember their names except Rıdvan .That evening there will be the award ceremony and Milliyet’s Party on the beach of the hotel. Turkish Night, Rhythm of Turkey, Burhan Öçal Recital, whatever you say, it is obvious that it will be a beautiful night.

The suggested attire for the award ceremony at 19:00 is Black Tie. The jury members, for example, will be picked from their hotels and taken to the Festival Palace. We got into a car with my wife Selma and a German juror and together with his wife. We were at the special gate in few minutes. Jury members were generally dressed in jackets but some were also dressed in T-shirts. We pass from a narrow corridor with a red carpet. Smiling at some of the people on duty, I said “Red carpet ha?” They looked at me with an expression like “Poor man, he thinks this is the famous red carpet.” Selma pulled me and we entered the hall. We found a seat in a special row reserved for the jury members and sat down. The Chinese juror shoots videos. The ceremony began. Just at that moment, all press and outdoor jury members were made to stand up and salute the guests. Naturally, I also stand up, wave slightly, smile and applaud. I applaud maybe the other jurors, or the guests, or the organization committee, who knows whom I applaud? I have mixed feelings at that moment.”

The hall is very hot and stuffy. Everybody has a brochure in his hand, which is as fan. We are hungry. Smell of juice, produced by empty stomachs comes from the front, back, and from the sides. I told Selma to get out and we did. We went to the Hotel, changed and headed for the beach. There was a Turkish flag on the quay, I felt pleasant at that moment. It is not easy; this is my 8th day in Cannes. We got down the stairs, greeted a few people we knew. There is a Moroccan music blasting; I asked Bülent Bey the reason for this sort of music. He said: “let me find out” and he took care of it. A marvelous open buffet… All our national food we have missed were there. On one corner, they sliced “Turning Kebab”, stuffed peppers in olive oil, beurreks, caciks, special dessert buffet and so on. A device fixed on the plates attract my attention. I discover in seconds that this is a special device to carry raki glass and I felt relieved. Burhan Öçal arrives. He takes some food too but no use, his appetite has gone again, and he leaves the meat again saying that it is not cooked well. In a way to prove my diagnose, I tell him: “You don’t eat anything?” He says: “I will play in a little while; that’s why I don’t eat”. He lies. He lies because he was scared of me and as a result, he has lost his appetite; he can’t eat even if he wants. He lights a Cohiba Churchill, it is so obvious that he tries to drown his blues. He was scared of me: that could make someone doleful as well. It gets more crowded around. It is full everywhere. We are about 326 people. One Italian, the other American 2 juror friends come. They enjoy so much eating doner in between pide. A gentleman approaches me, we introduce ourselves to each other; he is our Marseille consul, Mr. Uğur Arınel. He said that he knew me very well by name. He says: “They call you something that I liked very much, it was just at the tip of my tongue. “What was it?” I say: “genius?” He says: “No”, I say: “Genius advertiser?” “No, No” he says, I say: “genius child?” He says: “No, not that” “genius of geniuses?” , “No” he says, I ask: “Can it be geniuses?” He says: “Hah, I have found, pioneer”, “pioneer” I say “means the oldest, that doesn’t mean something like master” “Oooo?” he says. “Oooo”I say. 3-4 young girls from the young creators come beside me. We chat a little. Burhan Öçal takes the stage at about 23.30. There is a vigorous ovation. Öçal becomes a giant on stage. You cannot see his hands. It is as if a kettledrum orchestra plays on the stage and we see only one person. As he played really well, I said to myself “never mind, don’t tussle with the man, maybe he didn’t really hear your name; look, he looks like a good man, leave it and extinguish the fire of revenge inside.”

Those young girls rushed out to the stage. I said to Selma about one of these girls: “what a nice girl.” She said “What does what a nice girl means?” I said: “what does ‘what does what a nice girl means’ means?”

We found a table and sat down. Just at the moment, two people, more Japanese than Japanese and even more Chinese than Chinese, with eyes made of two lines, came near me. We say 2 eyes, 2 faucets, these are two eyes, two lines. He introduced himself. Mutually, we regretted and vituperated that advertising deteriorates each day. I wasn’t able to see his glittering eyes under the lines but I am sure they were glittering… He left and a friend that we once worked together with came and sat by. I recognized him of course and called him with his name. You would love to know what he said: “I was curious to know whether you would recognize me or not”. Yes, he put on about 10-15 kilos but why shouldn’t I recognize him? Have I become senile? I said to Selma: “look, do you remember this young man, you know, he has come to the agency one day and said to me: ‘we get out of work at 6; my father is a doctor and comes home at 9. I am ashamed and embarrassed”. He then said: “Now I see how right you were”. They could not leave the agency before 9 or 10 and he feelt very annoyed about it.

I said “let’s leave slowly”. We got up and while walking towards the door, Mrs. Hanzade asked “where?” “Isn’t it early yet, shall we not dance?” People who know me very well are aware that when the word “dance” is pronounced, my chemistry gets bad; you know, like when some people’s chemistries get bad when they hear the word “cat”. However, for her good sake, we didn’t leave... I found a table and sat down. Selma was on the dance floor.

It was about 01:30. Everybody, being over talkative, said to each other how they enjoyed the evening and slowly began to depart. We were a table of 8-10 people. We sat down. Burhan Öçal took out the kettledrum and started to play. Some people started to accompany him with tambourine, glasses, plates and the table. I have found out there that he was such a humble person; he would not say: “I am a world famous artist and I will not play on tables with you, yes, the fact that I didn’t hear Ali Taran’s name may be a deficiency but everyone has defects, don’t they?”

The 8-10 years age cute girl sitting with us says: “You said cranky about me”, I said: “Yes, I did, “Well, my mother says you are cranky too”. I know whose daughter she is; we will see what will happen.

We passed to the bar of the hotel around 02:00. We sat down. I had a young man beside me. He works in one of the rare local advertisement agencies like ours in Turkey. We talked about advertisements. We got up around 03:00, said goodbye and thanked the people for providing this beautiful opportunity for us.

It was the morning, in fact, it was already morning but we haven’t noticed yet. Tonight, there will the closing gala of the 52. Cannes Advertising Festival 2005, where Milliyet Evening took place the night before. We will attend. We got dressed about 22:00 and went to the Gala. They have made a long corridor on the entrance and the curious people leaning against the iron barriers watch the people entering. They hope to see famous people; however, their disappointment is so obvious when they see us instead of the people they expect. For example, Selma and I swagger hand in hand but these people look at the Ferrari passing by. If I knew how to say “shame on you” in French, I would utter the correct words but at that moment I couldn’t find the words, I was desperate. My eyes meet with someone from the crowd of Ferrari fans and I smile slightly. The security men look at us.

We go down the beach. What’s that? Does the Turkish Night continue? “Turning Kebab” counters on every corner, stuffed peppers in olive oil, rice and caciks, My God, what is this? We see Namoet. He says: “I remember this menu from somewhere”. I am about to say: “you should remember the way to the airport rather than the menu,” but I shut up not to offend him. We attend the Gala for half an hour and go back to the hotel to drink coffee. The firework show starts specially prepared for the closing night. Everybody watches and at each blast saying: “Aaaa it is so beautiful”. I never say this. I am not an admirer of fireworks. If they can manage, let them blast a writing or shape, so that we can use it for advertisements. Alternatively, maybe if letters could be written by fireworks, then it would be meaningful and could become an innovation. Always the same shaped blasts. Not for me. If my idea were to be practiced, next year the outdoor Grand Prix would be from us…

Let’s see who will go to Cannes next year as jury member from Turkey?

Good look to him.

Ali Taran




Thanks to Ali Taran for allowing me to publish his writing in my web page.

Tülin Erkaya

July 18, 2005

Ali Taran

President, Executive Creative Director| Ali Taran Creative Workshop | Istanbul, TURKEY

Born in Turkey in 1952, Ali Taran started his advertising career in 1970 and worked in numerous advertising agencies as Copywriter and 'Creative Dictator'.  

In the early years of his career, he also directed TV commercials. He founded his own advertising agency , the Ali Taran Creative Workshop (ATCW), in 1992.   

His works have been awarded in New York Film Festivals, Epica and Crystal Apple. He has spoken on creativity in advertising at universities and professional events.   

Ali is still running ATCW. He recently co-founded a 'brain works' agency called Beyin (Brain). He is married with two children.




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