The red carpet has been rolled away, the rosé bottles cleared up, and the flock of advertising technology innovators is gone after another eventful Cannes Lions festival.
As we look back at the latest gathering of creative visionaries from the world’s largest tech hubs in London, New York, Berlin and many more besides, here are some pearls of wisdom for future intrepid visitors to one of the most important events in any ad tech professional’s diary.
1. You can’t start preparing too early
As soon as the dates are announced for Cannes Lions 2017, there will be a flurry of flight and hotel bookings with delegates keen to secure their place at the event. Along with booking, you should also think about securing meetings and introductions as soon as possible to get them locked in the calendar, and make the most of any opportunity to build media relations. Also, if you’re planning to host any kind of event, send invites out at least two months in advance.
2. Make sure you’re on “Cannes time”
You may be confident that you’ve planned your agenda to the last minute, only to discover that your media contact or client is AWOL for that important meeting. This is the epicentre of market disruption, where thought leaders meet and nothing is predictable. Don’t rely on Google diaries being in sync or assume timings are streamlined – reconfirm all meetings to get around any time zone issues – and don’t be surprised when your meeting starts at least 10 minutes late.
3. Time to travel
A stroll along the Boulevard de la Croisette may sound like a pleasant excursion, but it’s a different matter when you’re trying to get to an important meeting and you have a 20-minute walk from one end to the other. If you’re using the event as a launchpad for drumming up interest in your start-up businesses or simply raising your tech profile, you’re also likely to have a packed schedule. Plan travel time into your diary so you can arrive fresh and prepared, not red-faced and flustered.
4. Stay connected
If you’re always on the move, then you need to be able to keep in touch with the Cannes movers and shakers — and that means you need your own digital strategy to maintain connectivity. Kit yourself out with a portable charger for your phone and make sure you have a decent data plan before you leave for the event.
5. Monday is the new Thursday
Thursday was once considered the big day in the Cannes calendar, with its lavish closing parties. But this year saw the great and the good celebrating early – Monday’s yacht parties were the place to be seen.
6. Cannes is global attraction, prepare to network
Make sure those business cards are at the ready because you never know who you might bump into. Cannes is a beacon for public relations specialists and it’s not hard to see why: speakers this year included UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, global superstar Will Smith, Clay Bavor, Vice President of VR at Google, and Mark D’Arcy, Chief Creative Officer at Facebook. You might even end up swapping stories with journalist Piers Morgan and advertising legend Sir Martin Sorrell…Name-dropping? Moi?
7. Give breakfast meetings the cold shoulder
They say the early bird catches the worm, but in Cannes you are more likely to have a productive meeting over a spot of brunch. With the option to party into the night proving tempting for many attendees, best to save your networking for mid-morning onwards.
8. Choose your shoes with care
Heels are definitely a no-no during the day in Cannes. With the cobbled streets and distance between venues, flats are definitely best. And don’t forget suncream, and plenty of water to keep you hydrated.
9. Have fun… but not too much
Enjoy every second of your Cannes Lions experience. Where else would you get to hang out on multi-million pound yachts, meet Take That, and watch Jason Derulo perform … but still be able to say you’re working on technology PR or advertising relationship building? So always remember you are on company time and be memorable for the right reasons.