There is no denying the lure of Cannes. The opportunity to sit/walk/swim and dance side by side with all corners of the global industry is exactly the reason I feel compelled to come year after year. There is nowhere in the world that our entire global industry can be found in one small town to discuss their current view on our businesses and the industry as a wider whole. It’s truly compelling. But, wow, things have changed.
This year was my 14th year and it felt very different to Cannes of old. Over all these years the Croisette make up has changed - beaches are now hosted by Philip Morris International (anyone as surprised by this as I was? Love to know what the offering there was, please tell me if you paid a visit), Pinterest, Spotify with huge parties where invitees could see Kylie & The Killers performing. Long gone are the days when ad agencies hosted the big parties and as they became obselete, production companies took up the party mantel. These used to be closely guarded guestlists and yet even this has changed - the parties have become collaborations between companies with an attitude of not competition but of togetherness. Of course, part of the reason is the cost of putting anything on in Cannes but I do genuinely think that attitudes have changed and there is much more openness and an attitude that as the industry has become more fluid, so has the mindset - come one, come all, enjoy and spread the good word of the people you meet.
It’s fascinating to see the media platforms investing so much in their Cannes positioning and I haven’t forgotten the line someone said to me in conversation about one of these particular parties they’d been too - look around at the audience, there is no-one from advertising here, these are all people from the tech industry.
The creatives & producers were on yachts, islands, in villas and definately still keeping the Carlton and it’s terrace well paid up for the year. There are many sides to Cannes but what we are not yet seeing is a true convergence of those from the tech world with creatives and producers coming from a traditional craft place. It’s a whole other conversation to discuss tech/creativity & advertising and for another person way more clued up than I…but still, from a people perspective that true coming together feels pretty separate to me.
My Cannes this year, was one of the best. The Cannes festival itself was smaller and it felt it. Usual haunts less crowded, not so many of the familiar faces but my schedule was full to the brim and then some. I had the great joy of hosting client lunches & dinners with my fellow Madams - our way to thank and show how much we value working with our partners around the world. Seeing old friends and making new contacts from all across the globe and then of course the World Cup. England’s first group game was on the Cannes Monday and we took over the only English pub in Cannes inviting friends to join us to celebrate the highs and lows that come with the beautiful game. I loved it, the atmosphere was just as we hoped & we had a fantastic turnout with a mix of our British friends in the industry and from Iceland to Vietnam via the US. There’s something special about a World Cup Cannes.
Sitting here back in a sunny London Town, I feel energised about the conversations I had, the people I met and how opportunities can come from anywhere and anyone. I think it’s never been more exciting and what is prescient is that, more than ever before, exceptional production & craft expertise is the difference between the great and the disappointing. What a year for British advertising and I'm so proud to be a part of raising the bar in our industry through our support to our clients.
Now go check out the pics!