Seasoned Cannes-Goers Provide Top Tips on How to Make the Most of Your Time There

In a light-hearted departure from ad tech analysis, and with the 2016 Cannes Lions festival just two days away, ExchangeWire ask industry leaders, with much experience of the event, what their top tips for surviving Cannes are, with advice ranging from ‘be prepared’ to ‘don’t eat too much fish’…

Versatile clothing and plenty of rosé

“Those lucky enough to be heading to Cannes Lions next week, can certainly look forward to a welcome break from the rainy British summer, with temperatures set to hit a high of 30ºC. But Cannes is no holiday, and the long days and late nights mean attendees need to prepare with more than just sunscreen. Staying hydrated in the searing heat is crucial. The good news is, that most cabanas provide free drinks and bottled water – offering a great opportunity to network whilst quenching your thirst.

“When on the French Riviera, the aim is to dress to impress – but you can leave the stilettos, suit and tie at home. Day-to-night versatility – a chic, summery look that’s light and airy enough to withstand the daytime heat and take you to through to the evening parties, is the order of the day. Your week will be spent mostly on-foot and 99% of Cannes taxis don’t operate after midnight; so stylish, but comfortable, shoes that you could walk 20 miles in without blistering are a must-have. Finally, when in Cannes, it’s compulsory to drink rosé wine – this point is really non-negotiable. Enjoy!”

Chris Dobson, CEO, The Exchange Lab

Be prepared, yet flexible

“Do your homework in advance. Plan out the presentations, meetings and parties you want to attend prior to arrival; and make sure you’ve RSVP’d in advance so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re there. Then, once in Cannes, reprioritise your plan based on the sentiment and insights you’ll pick up live from your colleagues and attendees.”

Arthur F. Muldoon, Co-founder, Accordant Media

Take advantage of the free ice creams

“With a hectic schedule of back-to-back meetings, superyachts, rooftop parties, and business networking, be sure to strategically plan ahead and know in advance exactly where you need to be and at what time.

“As the technology and advertising worlds join together on the hot sands of the French Riviera, with temperatures soaring, it’s also essential to find a moment of respite during the long and chaotic days. Be prepared for a scorching week – pack sunscreen, stay hydrated, and know how to order your beverages. Most importantly, be sure to look out for the free ice creams along La Croisette!”

Hervé Brunet, CEO and Co-founder, StickyADS.tv

Embrace the creative, festival vibe

“How to survive Cannes? My advice is to make sure you get ample sleep before you arrive on the French Riviera, as you definitely won’t have much time while you’re there.

“Be sensible with your food and alcohol choices. It’s easy to get carried away. From personal experience, I recommend not to eat too much fish – in addition to the free flowing champagne, it’s not a good combination.

“It is important to try to blend in and make sure you have some free time for impromptu lunches or drinks – that’s where lasting new business relationships can be built. Make effort to mix with the creative types and join the festival vibe – it is their event after all and you might learn something valuable about the importance of creativity for your advertising strategy.”

Julia Smith, Director of Communications, Forensiq

Get inspired

“Keep an open mind and wander outside your day-to-day areas of focus. Inspiration at Cannes comes from truly seeing how incredible our global advertising industry truly is. From groundbreaking creative, to science and technology, Cannes brings together a global assortment of cutting-edge ideas. Leave inspired!”

Matthew Greitzer, Co-founder, Accordant Media

Don’t book early morning meetings

“Don’t dress for a conference. It’s hot and the style is relaxed, beach chic – think tailored shorts and linen shirts, rather than slacks and suit jacket. You don’t want to be the only person in Cannes wearing a tie!

“Everyone is overbooked and attending multiple events and parties into the late hours. Be prepared to find that elusive prospect and get acquainted at 2am – i.e. don’t overdo it on the rosé. The late-night parties mean it’s a rookie mistake to book early morning meetings. People don’t want them and will cancel – if they even accept in the first place.

“Most importantly, realise that for many media agencies this is their week to bond, not sign-off tech deals. So don’t overdo the hard sell – use the time at Cannes to gain and build relationships.”

Alex Rahaman, VP Programmatic, Sizmek

Research the latest industry topics and trends

“Before heading out to Cannes, my advice would be to make sure you do your research into the latest topics and key industry trends. Look into the major issues that evolved from last year’s debates and consider what you think will be looming large on the agenda this year. By ensuring you’re fully up to date with what’s hot, and what’s not, you’ll be sure to impress key influencers with your industry knowledge during those all-important networking opportunities.

“Also, research key networking events during your time on the French Riviera. The week is full of not-to-miss parties and events, so scheduling these in your diary is a must to make sure you’re in front of the right people, at the right time.”

Giovanni Strocchi, ADmantX

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