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Our Cannes TakeAway

This was my ninth Cannes Lions. Incredible. I can hardly believe it myself. My first Cannes was with BEAM.TV. I was a few months into the job and I was lucky enough to be part of the Team that went to Cannes to meet all of our international partners. That trip was EPIC. It changed my world and my whole view of the advertising industry. 2005…


Since then, of course the Festival has changed and its allure to the brands and agencies and has fluctuated. From one year it being seen as a must attend festival for all the senior execs and decision makers, to the next it being seen as a ‘treat’ for the interns and junior staff to be rewarded for their contributions to the agency/brand, to another where one of the largest agency groups pulled out altogether (or did they? Publics definitely attended Cannes 2018, just not in the usual “enmasse” efforts.

One thing is for sure, for companies working on the production side or vendor side (asset management, content distribution), it has always been considered an important event in the conference calendars. It’s an opportunity to not only meet your local clients in a less hectic and stressful environment and encourage a more personable relationship, (what is more Zen like than looking at the Mediterranean whilst sipping rose and spotting Will Smith sitting at the table behind you) but also a cost-effective approach to meeting and getting to know all your international clients and partners.

For me, each year is always a new experience, a chance to make new connections and an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the industry, and always to see whether you have still got what it takes to last the whole week of meetings.

As is often heard around La Croissette, “It’s a marathon not a sprint.”


As an agency client told me this trip, Cannes Lions is really the New Year’s Eve for the ad industry. We get to review, analyze, criticize all creative efforts over the past 12 months, the good, the bad and the ugly. We celebrate the outstanding contributions to society, we discuss the future of the industry and how technology will continue to impact our craft over the next 12 months. We determine what we will be doing different over the coming months, where our clients and business will take us. Where we aspire to be. Then we drink more rose and reconvene 12 months later and do it all again.

This is my third Cannes having left corporate America. returning with a new passion and vigor for the craft.

This year I attended Cannes Lions as Foresyte Media and represented two clients MoviePass and AmericaCine. Prearranged meetings were intense and plentiful, but I found particularly this year, it was very cool to go with the flow and meet people at the key events and move from there. There was an abundance of agencies, adtech, production companies, brands in attendance. After the formalities at the beginning of the week, most people wanted to connect on a human level whilst also understanding the business opportunities of any interaction. People want to do business with people they like, right? So Cannes remains one of the most perfect settings to facilitate business relationships and subsequent opportunities.

Remember when creatives didn't "do" data?


The highlights

  • Captify Party - this made my Cannes. I met so many great people here from all areas of the industry. Yes, it was predominantly AdTech, but if you looked harder, there were also agencies and brands and production companies lurking in the waters. Great event. Thank you VERY much for the invite.

  • MediaLink– This company never disappoints with its organized events at Cannes. From specially curated meetings, to dinners to private Bon Jovi concerts (which I wasn’t invited to), the Team at Medialink have got Cannes wrappedup.

  • LBB Beach– Matt and Sarah Cooper never disappoint, and this year, with a wider beach, came more networking space and more upmarket feel than previous years. It is predominantly attended by UK and European clients, but with the US sending more people over each year, there was more of a global feel to LBB than previous years. Plus their marketing with all co-sponsors was fantastic. This is a must attend private beach space

  • Google Pride Party - This just gets better every year. With it being held on the last full day of the festival, everyone has their let their down fully and so this simply a time to connect and dance the night away with fabulously gorgeous drag queens and some of the best pop music around.

  • Other noteworthy highlights - I Heart Media - Meeting Gary Vee and Hernan Lopez

  • Havas Media – James Bay. Twitter Beach and their evening events , SnapChat, Dentsu Beach, Shots Party, FaceBook,

The lowlights

I’ve got to say, not many lowlights

  • No Entry to some evening events due to overcapacity

  • Some clients suffered from the Cannes flu (!)

  • Very sparse vegetarian healthy options

The end of Cannes with all the important wrist bands :)


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