I’ve never been a fan of Cannes or any other “show-off shows” in the advertising industry. Just like I don’t care about the new AMC show “The Pitch”.

Agencies shouldn’t be part of headline. Clients should.

When agencies celebrate themselves in Cannes or showcase their culture, or lack thereof, on a TV show, they become the story. Agencies were not created to be the story. Agencies were created to develop stories for brands, increase their impact and be of service.

Agencies and their executives don’t belong in news releases or trade publications. The awards section on their site shouldn’t communicate: “Aren’t all these brands lucky to work with us?” Agencies should never accept a price on stage without the client standing next to them. The client should be in front of the camera, while the agency should be slowly backing away, not to steal any spotlight. When agencies become too prominent, too self-important, people will ask: “Is this a client story or an agency story for the client?”

People don’t like show-offs. Clients don’t like show-offs.

Agencies need a showcase so others can find out about them. They shouldn’t do it themselves. Instead, the clients should show off for them. Highlight the results of their work. Co-present at conferences, co-create case studies together with the client.

But the headline? The headline always belongs to the client. Without an exception.

Don’t you agree?