This weekend, Adland descends on the south of France for the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, a week-long event that brings together the industry’s movers and shakers and hands out awards for creative excellence.
The usual advertising celebrities, like WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell and Publicis boss Maurice Lévy, will be joined on the main stages by real celebrities: Kim Kardashian, Pharrell, and even Marilyn Manson.
We asked a number of seasoned Cannes veterans to give their tips about what goes on away from the main stages, the sponsored parties, and the famous Carlton Hotel — where all the big players stay.
They told us where the big deals really get done, where those who party hard hide away from their bosses, and where to get the best views of the French Riviera.
Thomas Crampton, [email protected] global managing director: While the short, drunk, and dangerous stumble between the Carlton Terrace, and The Gutter Bar may have a reputation for being an insider's zone, the real deals take place in more sober, stunning, and exclusive circumstances, such as yachts in the harbour or over lunch at Eden-Roc restaurant in Antibes.
César Agost Carreňo, Ogilvy Mexico regional creative director and vice president of creative services: After 14 years of going to Cannes, let me tell you that the parties are just as important as the awards. Shots Magazine hosts the best party of the festival, which is always on the beach. Try to get an invitation. This year's entertainment comes from Pacha Ibiza's resident DJ Andy Baxter and international DJ and presenter Goldirocks.
Damian Burns, global head of sales for Facebook's Atlas: I am very fond of La Colombe d'Or in St-Paul-de-Vence. It's a 30 minute drive from Cannes and offers a beautiful garden, great food and audible conversation away from the mad throng of La Croisette. Matisse, Miró and Picasso used to dine their regularly, and fittingly their paintings adorn the walls. A worthy benchmark for all of the creative types who dine there.
Agost Carreňo adds: If you are planning a day outside the festival, you must go to Château de la Chèvre d'Or in Village D´eze. The best view of the French Riviera.
Paul Frampton, CEO at Havas Media: A secret place where Cannes veterans often go is Volupté, a beautiful café far from the madding crowd, tucked away on Rue Hoche, serving the best coffee and cakes around.
Eric Franchi, co-founder and chief evangelist at Undertone: Yachts. Media companies and ad tech companies rent them for the week and host meetings or client excursions (such as to St. Tropez during the day) and have parties at night. And when you go to St. Tropez, Le Club 55 is the place to go. It's right off the beach and good for groups. Very popular.
The Exchange Lab: Surrounded in rich tropical greenery with a mix of open air and outdoor spaces, this unique experience transforms from fine dining during the day to fiery theatrics at night. One of Cannes hottest evening spots, there's a high chance you'll end up dancing next to other industry executives after dinner. Be sure to make a reservation if you're planning on dining there.
Karmarama executive chairman Jon Wilkins: There's a relatively new hotel not far from the Palais called Five. The food is fantastic and it has a rooftop bar -- it's somewhere to have the Cannes experience, without necessarily bumping into every man and his dog.
Lizzy Pollott, Havas SE Cake CMO: For a classy -- and truly French -- dinner away from the hordes and the bustle of La Croisette, make your way up the beautiful winding streets of Cannes Old Town and seek out Le Manoir on Petite Rue Saint Antoine. The location is truly stunning, set amongst narrow, steep streets. If you can bag yourself a table on the terrace and watch the nightlife of Cannes unfold then even better. The fare is traditional French and the wine list as long as your arm.
Charles Battrick, head of production at El Carousel Ltd: A good networking spot and/or meeting point is the LBB & Friends Beach. There are free drinks during happy hour (4-6 p.m. daily), free massages in the Hanging Gardens, and live music showcases during happy hour hosted by Native Music Supervision -- all good fun and a relaxing way to immerse yourself in the Cannes experience.
Rich Wilson, CMO of Relative Insight is also a fan of the LBB Beach: At Cannes I know two things: Where the parties are, and that if I go to the Little Black Book beach I get a massage with my rosé.
Alex Grossman, B-Reel London executive producer: The Gaston & Gastounette is a small and very French restaurant by the harbour. It's perfect for entertaining as the food is unfussy (unlike the decor, which can be a talking point) and it's relatively reasonably priced, for Cannes anyway.
Kerrie Finch, founder of Finch Factor: It's not so secret: Restaurant Caveau 30 for excellent seafood. It's a Finch Factor friends and family dinner tradition.
The Daily Mail yacht is one of the star attractions -- literally. Here's Kim Kardashian (who is returning this year) with Daily Mail North America CEO Jon Steinberg in 2014.
Celebrities confirmed to pop by the Daily Mail yacht parties this year include Chrissy Teigen, Kris and Kylie Jenner, Daisy Lowe, and Sam Ronson.
Spotify uses Cannes as a vehicle to show off its musical connections. The late night party on the Wednesday night is the ticket all the modern-day 'Mad Men' want in their inboxes.
The sponsored party everyone wants to attend is Google's on Thursday, June 25. Not many details have emerged yet, but Google is hosting a talk with Mark Ronson earlier in the week...
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