Friday, June 14, 2019

Cannes stalwarts share their fondest festival memories | Advertising Age

Between the rosé, yacht parties, awards, workshops and interesting people, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is sure to stoke a few memories for those who’ve attended in the past.

Here, 20 seasoned delegates share their most memorable moments from multiple excursions to the South of France. Their responses have been edited for brevity and clarity:

Frederic Bonn, executive creative director, iCrossing
Cannes count: Every year since 2005, except for 2009.”
Most memorable moment: “Definitely judging. It’s a truly unique experience being locked in a room for a week in the South of France with a group of people from around the world to talk about one thing and one thing only: the work. The long conversations and debates about each piece of work and the occasionally vast disagreements, it just doesn’t get any better than that. Some things you love and someone else hates, and vice-versa. But challenging each other’s points of view and understanding other perspectives from people of different cultures and backgrounds is what makes this process so special.”

Bertrand “Coca” Cocallemen, global creative director, Teads
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: “The chief creative officer from Isobar, a brilliant thinker, was on stage to present for an innovation Lion. The temperatures were soaring about 90 degrees that day and the CCO fainted on stage. Everyone was terrified, but now we laugh at the mix of both heat and some bad food.”

Geoffrey Colon, head of brand studio, Microsoft Advertising
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: “Twitter’s 2017 party. As a former professional DJ, I rate Cannes on how good the DJ talent is. And Twitter delivered. DJ Mick on the ones and twos. Probably the best DJ that plays at these events because he is technically and musically proficient.”
Runner up: “Spotify after-party last year with DJ Shadow. Again, good DJs are important in a sea of mediocrity where too many events book their mate Ben from back home to play.”

Michel de Rijik, CEO Asia Pacific, S4 Capital
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: “The taxi strikes are notoriously annoying; it’s time they accept disrupting services like Uber. One year specifically they announced strikes around Nice-Cannes and as my flight was too early to take an Uber chopper, our best bet was to rent a car the day before and drop it at the airport the next morning. The unexpected problem was that the taxi drivers were not only striking, but also blocking the roads to the airport. With the airport in sight and a flight to catch, we decided to leave the car on the highway and walk two miles to the airport to catch our flight.”

Ann-Christine Diaz, Creativity editor, Ad Age
Cannes count: “Too many.”
Most memorable moment: “I did Cannes pregnant. Twice. The first year was awful because I was early stages and I didn’t show at all and had to make up excuses for not drinking everywhere I went. What was even worse was that it was a World Cup year, so I was witness to even more inebriated revelry than usual, which is so not fun when you’re not one of the inebriated. I remember being at a dinner and seeing a prominent chief creative drunk-arguing with a prominent marketer about who would win, thinking, ‘You’re having fun and I’m not.’ The second time, I was more-obviously pregnant—like basketball-tummy-size pregnant. Then, my excuse to not drink was obvious, so it was easier to just let my hair down and have fun.”

Cindy Gallop, founder, If We Ran The World
Cannes count: "I've honestly lost track."
Most memorable moment: My most memorable moment was being sexually harassed at Cannes in 2015. It was so unexpected that that should happen to me, at my age, at a private, formal dinner hosted by a friend, that it really brought home to me the reality of what so many women in our industry go through at Cannes and every day at work. That event is part of why I've been speaking out publicly about sexual harassment since way before #MeToo."

Karen King, professor of advertising and Jim Kennedy, professor of new media, University of Georgia
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: One of our former UGA students, Jason Kreher, creative director at W+K, won a Gold Lion. Since other members of his team weren't there, he invited me to sit with him on the main floor for the evening awards ceremony. As he came back to his seat from the stage, another former UGA student who was also seated in the main floor section, Gilad Kat, communication director at Mediacom Israel, saw us and waved. Shortly after, Gilad and his team took the stage to accept their Gold Lion. Afterwards, I had the pleasure of introducing these former UGA students and Gold Lion winners to each other. It sure is fun to see the work of our UGA students get recognized on the international stage. Two of our favorite people winning in one night is hard to beat.

Teddy Lynn, founding partner and chief creative officer, Episode Four
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: “Here’s some advice: If you ever get a chance to serve, take it. Oh, and one more thing: Please don’t drink the rosé you didn’t see opened in front of you. Trust me.”

Vinícius Malinoski, head of The Zoo Brazil, Google’s creative think tank
Cannes count:
“This will be my fifth time.”
Most memorable moment: “Last year I went to this vernissage from a private art gallery. It was a memorable event, because it turned a beautiful Cannes apartment  into an art gallery, focused on showcasing artistic projects that people in the advertising business had done in their spare time. There were paintings, sculptures, photography, illustrations, music, you name it. It was a delightful event during this gorgeous sunset. Interesting people, good music and french rosé. It was a perfect moment one that you can only have in a place Cannes.”

John Mescall, global executive creative director and president global creative council, McCann WorldGroup
Cannes count:
“Around 20, including this one time when the festival wasn’t on, and that wasn’t nearly as fun.”
Most memorable moment: “One of the campaigns I’d done, ‘Dumb Ways to Die,’ had been winning all week and on the final night in front of a packed Palais, the great Lee Clow—who I’d obviously admired from afar my whole career—tells the entire room: ‘I wish I’d done Dumb Ways to Die.’ I’ll never forget that.”
Runner up: “I’ll never forget that time we found the Lioness of Cannes. This story has never been told. I was on the Titanium jury, hidden in this little room, way up on the top floor of the Palais, and one of my fellow jury members—Jamie Robinson or Chloe Gottlieb—excitedly came out of the women’s bathroom saying she’d see the face of a female Lion in the marble in the women’s bathroom. It was like seeing Jesus burnt onto a slice of toast."

Piyush Pandey, global chief creative officer, Ogilvy
Cannes count:
Most memorable moment: "The 'we' moment at Martinez Bar, 1996. I was sitting on the staircase, having a drink with a senior member of an eminent Indian agency who was on the jury that year. After a couple of drinks, this gentleman leaned toward me and said, ‘Piyush, do not tell anyone, but we have won the first Film Lion at Cannes.’ I could not understand the 'we' because the commercial was neither from his agency, nor mine. And then I realized that 'we' meant 'India.’ I will never forget that moment when the 'One Black Coffee’ commercial for Ericsson Mobile phones brought home India's first Lion.”

PJ Pereira, creative chairman, Pereira & O’Dell
Cannes count:
“Every year for the last 20 years.”
Most memorable moment: “A few years ago we took everyone from the agency who went to Cannes on a boat ride to celebrate our first Grand Prix, a Cyber GP for Intel's ‘The Beauty Inside.’ When we were coming back, I received a call that we'd won the film Grand Prix, too. I ran to the front of the boat, brought champagne and we were all celebrating, happier then we could ever imagine. My phone then rang again—it was, once again, the Festival. So, picture this: I had to tell everyone to be quiet because I needed to hear what they were trying to say, and it was 'You won the Entertainment Grand Prix, too!’ I raised my hand and screamed and everyone there knew exactly what had happened. I will never forget that day.”

Brent Poer, president, chief marketing officer, Zenith, Moxie & MRY
Cannes count:
“Since 2010, before the cavalcade of celebrities arrived.”
Most memorable moment: “We were at a Microsoft party once and we met a group of students from the University of Georgia who were on a program called ‘Semester in Cannes.’ I told one of them that I had gone to UGA myself, that I had been unaware of ‘Semester in Cannes.’ I later posed for a picture with them and about 15 minutes later, one of the students came back and showed me a comment on her Instagram post: ‘Is that Brent Poer? Tell him ‘hello.’ She looked at me and said, ‘I can’t believe you know my dad!’ There’s a lesson here—beach parties are for the young. Stay in your lane and hope for an invite to MediaLink or Viacom.”

Bryan Reber, head of department of advertising and public relations, University of Georgia
Cannes count:
“I have been attending Cannes with students from the University of Georgia since 2013.”
Most memorable moment: “It’s hard to pick, but in 2018, student survivors-turned-activists reflected on the importance of taking a stand after they experienced a school shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida.”

Keith Reinhard, chairman emeritus, DDB Worldwide
Cannes count:
“I actually can’t count the number of times I’ve been.”
Most memorable moment: “My first trip was in 1984 as the first-ever American president of the jury. I don’t recall the Grand Prix winner in press, but in the film category, Lee Clow, Jay Chiat and Steve Jobs made it pretty easy for us.” Reinhard, of course, is referring to “the greatest ad ever made,” or Apple’s 1984 commercial which was up for top honors that year. “Even though the job of a jury president is to preside, not advocate, I made a passionate speech on behalf of ‘1984,’ urging that it had to be the jury’s unanimous choice. Which it eventually was.”

Lindsey Slaby, founder, Sunday Dinner
Cannes count: Two
Most memorable moment: “I think for everyone’s first year at Cannes, they don’t really know what they’re doing. I was so scared because MediaLink’s chief marketing officer Dana Anderson, who’s my hero, had asked me to speak on a panel called Fearless, and I knew Kim Kardashian was speaking at it, too. I was so nervous about it that I didn’t go to any parties. My roommate would find me walking up and down one of the quiet beaches speaking out loud to myself every day—I was just rehearsing; with the panel, I knew what the questions were, so I just wanted to be perfect.”

Frances Webster, co-founder and CEO, Walrus
Cannes count: One
Most memorable moment: “Going with a good friend of mine out on a sailboat, sailing out to an island, having lunch out there. We walked around the island to see this monastery. That’s about as good of a day as it gets.”
Runner up: “Sitting on the Carlton terrace at 1 a.m. and looking around. I knew almost everybody on that terrace and they were an incredibly fun group of people, all working in the same industry. I remember thinking, ‘This is awesome.’ What other industry goes to the south of France? Well, I guess Hollywood.”

Jen L. Wong, chief operating officer, Reddit
Cannes count: “This is probably my eighth or ninth year.”
Most memorable moment: “I went to the last Gawker party they had at one of the villas. And at the Gawker party then, obviously, there was that lawsuit looming and there were lingering questions about the future of Gawker. But it was a beautiful party with an incredible community, and I remember that because about a year later was when everything changed for them. But they always threw great parties with great people; you always wanted to be there!”

Tom Wong, head of fame, Mother London
Cannes count:
“This will be my ninth.”
Most memorable moment: “Bill Clinton speaking in 2012. For a man with communications magnetism as his calling card, he didn’t disappoint in the flesh.”


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