The media and marketing world is all set to flock to the French Riviera next week for the Cannes advertising festival. If you’re not already on your way, chances are that you will be in a few hours for a weeklong fiesta of panels, networking and, of course, rosé.
For you first-timers still trying to wrap your head around it all, fret not. Business Insider has put together this handy survival guide, with some of the biggest veterans dishing on the things they wish they knew before their first Cannes sojourns.
Sarah Hofstetter, CEO of 360i
Forgo the heels. Skip the hotel and get an apartment — it’s much easier, you’ll have more space and it’s much cheaper. And don’t take any meetings with people that work within a 50 mile radius of you — your time is limited and you can see them when you’re back in the office.
Patrick Keane, former Google exec and president, Sharethrough
Never go to a single “content session.” [Cannes is] literally only about the yachts and lobbies.
Mark Read, global CEO, Wunderman
Get a good dose of competitive envy. Cannes really is a celebration of the best work our industry has produced in the last year. Don’t dismiss it, and ask yourself honestly if your agency is producing work this good for your clients. If not, go back and make sure it does. Also, work out how to get an invitation to Stream: WPP’s offshore gathering of CMOs and technology leaders debating the future of our business.
Jay Sampson, veteran digital sales exec, Microsoft and Rubicon
While the best dealmaking happens between 9 a.m. and noon and midnight and 2 a.m., make sure that you also spend time at some sessions at The Palais. The insights shared are an invaluable part of attending Cannes Lions.
Rob Reilly, global creative chairman, McCann Worldgroup
Go to bed at a reasonable hour, at least every other night. Be careful crossing the street. French taxi drivers and alcohol is a terrible cocktail. And finally, be humble if you win. Act like you have been there before. When you win a big prize, remember everybody will be watching. And thank the people back at the office who helped you get there.
Michael Katz, co-founder, MParticle
Book as few meetings as possible. Seriously. Keep the calendar nimble. Get to St. Tropez one day. Hang out near the Carlton. Also, set a goal for yourself for the week and base the week around that goal. Cannes is where big deals happen. So make sure you know what you want to get out of the week, or else you can easily fall off course.
Wendy Clark, North America CEO, DDB Worldwide
Venture off the Croisette. There are lovely restaurants and spots beyond the main corridor. Figure out a way to share what you’re learning with your full teams. We’re broadcasting our weekly “Motivation Monday” live to our full North American network next week. Engage your clients in a dialogue around what you saw and learned and how that might create impact for their brands.
Rob Norman, chief digital officer, GroupM
It doesn’t matter who you are or think you are; there’s always many people there more important than you. They are easy to spot, as they are carrying the Lions around with them. Better a Lion than a yacht invitation.
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