So by now most people who went to the 2014 Cannes Lions Festival should start feeling back to normal and resembling their former selves (unless you’ve just got back from Glastonbury, in which case, power on!)
Just over a week ago, the glamorous French Riviera saw an influx of the world’s media professionals for the annual Cannes Lions Festival, celebrating the best of creative and advertising communications. In particular, this year saw wins for London-based agencies: adam&eveDDB for Harvey Nichols “Sorry, I Spent it on Myself” and OgilvyOne London for British Airways “Magic of Flying”.
It was also the first time that the Zulu Bravo team had attended the Festival, and to be honest, most of us didn’t really know what to expect- well, mainly me as I hadn’t even been to Cannes before. I was completely surprised by the sheer number of media professionals parading the Palais with their Cannes Lions delegate badges. Working in the heart of the media space in London, you expect to hear the occasional media jargon thrown around when you walk down the street, a “programmatic”, “RTB” or names of agencies which obviously makes a recruiter turn their head; however, Cannes took that to a whole new level. It literally felt like we were in a media bubble, which made more sense when you look at the figures: 12,000 delegates, visitors from 94 countries, 574 journalists, 2,000,000 visitors to Canneslions.com. Despite the sheer scale of the event, it was great to see a sense of familiarity and community between all the visitors. During the day, there would be loads of seminars and events to attend. The Zulu Bravo team were kindly invited to join the Adknowledge team at their cabana on the first day, which was a great introduction to the Festival and allowed us to meet a number of agency professionals, and also a yacht salesman (only in Cannes…). Of course, the hottest place of all to be after 12am was Croisette 72. Never heard of it? How about its other name, Gutter Bar!
What can I tell you about the Gutter Bar, except for the fact that it couldn’t be more aptly named. Ironically, this is where most of the business and introductions take place. After the glitz of dinners at The Carlton or an evening at a sponsored party, everyone ends up at the Gutter Bar, everyone!! All of them spilling out on to the pavement until sunrise (and because of this, it seems that the true winners at the Cannes Lions Festival are the owners of that bar). Imagine CEO’s, MD’s, Founders of notable creative, tech and media companies around the world all huddled into one area with their respective teams and clients. In the space of 2 hours I had bumped into people from: The Guardian, Unilever, Integral Ad Science, Exchange Lab, Specific Media, BrightRoll, The Drum just to name a few. It’s not that I was ‘star struck’ per se, just overwhelmed- I think by now you’ll realise that I’m a bit of a newbie when it comes to these large networking events. The biggest surprise came when I found myself standing next to one of the founder of BrightRoll at 4am, a client of ours that we have worked very closely with for the last year. To date, I’ve only spoken to the HR team at BrightRoll so it was a surreal moment, to say the least, when I was suddenly helping him find the owner of a major agency (especially when I didn’t even know what they looked like). Hopefully, it wasn’t too bad of a first meeting, and he did accept my LinkedIn request so I guess that’s a good enough sign!
This was immediately followed by bumping into another one of our clients, who we were scheduled to meet for lunch in the next 7 hours! It’s fair to say that everyone had their shades on the next morning- funnily enough, all of us sporting the Ray Ban look.
Our four day trip to Cannes seems like a lifetime ago now with all the meetings, networking, client lunches, birthday celebrations, food and football all blurred into one. Having spent a week in Cannes, I’m sure most of the people who went have their fair share of stories to tell (or not?). Be it accidently buying a £400 bottle of wine or just about making the cab to the airport at 7:30am after an hours sleep. We’d love to hear some of your stories, if you dare to share!
On a final note, and on behalf of the whole ZB team, we just want to say a big thank you to: Specific Media, Integral Ad Science, BrightRoll, Adknowledge, The Drum, The Exchange Lab, Matt Walcott (Cannes Lions Organiser)and B Pub for the warm welcome, decently priced drinks and excellent birthday celebration for James (we definitely recommend this place)!
Here are some of ZB’s snaps: