It’s that time of year again! The Cannes Lions Advertising Festival is right around the corner and as a six-year Cannes veteran, I feel it is my civic duty to pass on lessons learned, along with other insightful information to help onboard newbies and enlighten crafty veterans on how to make the most of their week in the South of France.
1. Plan Ahead
This one kind of goes without saying, however, every year there’s always someone scrambling to find an apartment or a couch to crash on at the last minute. That is, IF you can even get a last minute flight. Cannes can be expensive and if you don’t plan ahead, you will end up paying a lot more than you need to.
TIP: Find an apartment early and if you like it, reserve it immediately for the following year. The Simian crew has stayed in the same apartment, ideally located a block from the Palais, for the past six years. It’s really nice and best part? It’s dirt-cheap. The property owner knows he can get a lot more during Cannes Lions, but we always get a great rate because we’ve built a rapport and he knows what to expect from us year after year.
2. Cannes is a Marathon
You NEVER want to hear this: LOL! Last night, you were so hammered (on the first night, BTW) you ended up hitting on one of the many hookers outside of the Gutter bar! You talked (more like slurred) about how crazy it was going to get and how someone was going to die from having too much fun. What? Don’t remember? I do…and I have the pictures to prove it. Lucky for you, I’m not naming, names…
TIP: Don’t be THAT guy and ruin half of your Cannes trip because you went way too crazy on night one. Think of Cannes like a marathon. The parties roll on from dusk till dawn, followed by a steady stream of free flowing Rosé the next day. You want to take full advantage of your week, so be smart and pace yourself. 3. Find a Central Meeting HubWe spent our first couple of years hopping from party to party hoping to meet up with clients and make new connections, but soon realized that if we wanted to get the most out of Cannes we needed to be more effective and take a different approach. Sure parties are great, but bouncing from party to party, plus the obvious noise factor can make it tough to connect with the right people.
TIP: Meet at the Beach! After wandering and aimlessly looking for clients and prospects, Simian decided to team up with Little Black Book and co-sponsor the LBB & Friends Cannes Beach 2015. This is our third year in a row sponsoring the event and it’s a great central meeting hub to invite your clients and meet new connections.Simian & LBB & Friends is open Tuesday-Friday, 10:00am-6:00pm and is located on Carlton Beach directly across from the Carlton Hotel. There are indoor tables, a restaurant on hand, and of course loungers and cabanas on the beach. The best part is that it’s free and anyone can join in on the fun. Sign up to get your wristband for the week, as they are required. Did I mention Happy Hour is daily between 4:00 and 6:00pm and it’s free!
4. Visit the Gutter Bar
The drinks are expensive and the lines are long, however, there is nothing quite like the Gutter Bar in Cannes and you should experience it at least once. Why is it called the Gutter Bar? I don’t really know, but what I do know is that as the week rolls on the crowd gets more and more massive with each passing night. By the end of the week (sometimes mid week), the Gutter Bar is bursting at the seams with hundreds of people spilling out into the street and across the way into the Martinez.
TIP: DO NOT park your car at the Gutter Bar.
5. Be Aware of Pick Pockets
First off, let me be clear Cannes is a pretty safe place especially along the Croisette. Personally, I have never experienced an issue, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t professional pickpockets waiting to catch a stumbling drunkard walking home from the bar. Drunken peeps are no match for professional pickpockets; even if you are from Detroit …you won't even know what hit you.
TIP: Only carry as much cash as you need for a night, split it up between pockets and NEVER carry a passport with you.
6. Hooker Haven
It’s a well-known fact that there are a fair number (tons) roaming the streets of Cannes, mostly at night. They will happily take your money and most likely, leave you with a life long reminder [insert use of imagination here] of your fun time in Cannes.
Side note: While I do not condone employing these types of services, if you feel so inclined, then I might recommend these two.
7. Become a Delegate
With all of the workshops, talent, speakers and creativity that make up Cannes Lions, it’s hard not to get inspired and want to do something awesome …isn’t that the whole point?
TIP: Get inspired and do something, or you may find yourself wandering around Cannes drunk all week.
8. Shorts are Hard to Find
This may seem pretty obvious, however, a couple of years ago I let my wife pack my suitcase. I pulled out all my clothes ahead of time, but I left the packing duties to her …mistake! Ten minutes before hitting the LBB and Friends Beach I realized I didn’t have any shorts.
Now, one would think in the beach town of Cannes and all the shopping along Rue de Antibes, finding a couple pairs of shorts to wear would be no problem. It’s not IF you are a Men’s 29’ and don’t mind eye popping neon that could burn the retinas right out of your sockets. I’m not a size 29’ nor does bright yellow fit into my idea of acceptable fashion, which left me very limited.Luckily, I didn’t have to go pant-less. After visiting a half dozen stores I was able to find shorts that were either two sizes too small or two sizes too big, at only a minor financial setback of €300. Ouch!
TIP: Pack your own bag.
9. Say it Right
Cannes is pronounced like "can" not "kahn".
If you have any questions, need more tips, or have tips of your own to share, we'd love to hear them! Comment and they will be posted here.