Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity - Wow. What a trip.

My first Cannes adventure was many many years ago. How times have changed. Not only was I just starting out in the industry, bright eyed and bushy tailed, full of puppy fat (or booze weight), I was asked within in months of starting at the company,  to join my new Team in Cannes. WOW!
I was reminded of my Cannes-Virgin adventures this trip as I met some of my former colleagues. Yes, how times have changed. I would still consider myself bright eyed and bushy tailed (I have not seemed to have lost my enthusiasm or excitement for this Festival), but there is definitely no puppy fat following me around, having opted for a much healthier lifestyle since living Stateside.
Back then, as all the Cannes 'veterans' will tell you, the creative agencies were all the rage. They were everywhere with the biggest and best parties/networking events – I remember that DDB in particular managed the BIGGEST and BEST party on the beach.
Anyway, without wanting to take you on a trip down (my) memory lane, let’s focus on 2017.
I thought that this year was epic.

The general consensus from the Cannes goers I talked to, was that tickets to the Palais were too expensive and that despite various options to participate as a delegate (networking passes and full delegate passes) the $4000 USD ticket did deter many people from applying.

Submissions were also considered to be quite steep with many submitters paying late entry fees (apparently, this is the norm and where award shows, I guess much the same as bank overdraft fees, penalize the entrant for late payments)

One Festival goer commented that D&AD Awards, had more prestige attached as it is much more difficult to get nominated in these categories thus it held higher regard when work is shortlisted and awarded. (overall, entries to Cannes Lions were down 4% this year).

Another delegate who paid full price for their Festival pass, considered SXSW as more valuable for production companies and brands to attend. The Austin based festival is simply more cost effective from all angles. There are more people in attendance, and because it is not cost prohibitive to attend, talents from all cultures and backgrounds and age range participate, resulting in a richer atmosphere for creativity and ultimately networking opportunities.

Despite all of the varying views, my experience of Cannes was incredible. I found it to be a rich melting pot of talent from all areas of the industry. People, men and women, were eager to network and be introduced to new connections. Thoughts, ideas, hopes (and dreams) were readily discussed at all hours. The presence of the technology companies added a certain something to the festival, and in my opinion this only contributed positively. I absolutely LOVED the Facebook Beach and the You Tube Beach. They welcomed all members of the creative community, no matter of area of expertise, age, gender or race, with open arms which was fantastic. The variety of panels that they both brought to their spaces was awesome and inspiring. My favorite moment was the You Tube Pride Beach Day, opened with a talk by Jonathan Mildenhall, CMO at AirBnb. Super safe space and unapologetically flamboyant and gay for the day. LOVED IT!

There were so many events to attend, but fortunately with our US based PR connections, the Team at EF Consulting,  had managed to create a schedule of events over the course of the Festival and RSVP to the majority of must see/do/be at panels, parties, dinners.  This allowed the Team to have options during the week on the Croisette.

Ahead of the Festival, various publications released the MUST ATTEND party list but unless you were on the invite/guest list, there was very little chance of getting passed the tight security guards (aka doormen). Yes, you might find this annoying but think about it – why should the brand in question, pay a zillion dollars on entertainment only to have the wrong people show up? These events, as I am learning, are less about the quantity and more about the quality of people. HOWEVER,  this does backfire when not enough of the quality people show up, despite the high number of confirmed RSVPs – back up plans are always required.

Our personal highlights

AOL - Stevie Nicks

Spotify Beach Party feat Phoenix

MassiveMusic & MediaMonks Cannes Party 2017

Wondery- First presentation in the Palais managed in pitch darkness

Rushes at LBB Beach


LBB Beach all week

Carlton Terrace at all hours

Gutter Bar – yes we’ll admit it, we definitely showed our face here once or twice (!) during the week.


Cannes, as with everything in life, and the world right now, changes. One must always adapt and move with the times. Yes technology has a huge impact now on advertising and it is effecting creativity but, if embraced and managed correctly, it will only positively enhance the output. With all the brains out there, and different perspectives, I am confident we can continue to create crazy awesome, thought provoking, funny, serious, tear jerking content all in the name of advertising.

 Being different is good. Let’s continue to connect with each other in weird and wonderful ways, and let our creative technology driven juices flow.