Our Rainmaker in Cannes!

In its 70th year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is clearly the most prestigious advertising festival and largest gathering of the creative marketing community in the world. Almost 27,000 entries were received from all over the globe.

Mingling with over 9,000 delegates were advertising stars like Lee Clow and David Droga, and icons like filmmaker Spike Lee, Kevin Hart, will.i.am, Halle Berry, DJ D-Nice, Cesc Fàbregas, Darryl “DMC” McDaniels, sprinter Michael Johnson, DJ FLO, and more….

Amidst hot weather cooled by a constant sea breeze, Cannes Lions is a delight for any visitor.

The action centres at the Palais des Festivals along Boulevard de la Croisette in the French Riviera city of Cannes, Côte d’Azur.

Since our resident Rainmaker, Vishnu Devarajan, MARKETING’s COO, was at Cannes this year, here’s a first-person account of his experience…..

After a long flight, I finally found myself at Nice Côte d’Azur International Airport. It was a bright and sunny afternoon. After clearing immigration, I took a 2-minute walk to the St Augustine station and waited for the train to Cannes.

It was a smooth and quick 30-minute ride and I got to see some scenic buildings along the way.

Getting out of the SNCF Terminal at Cannes, it was a short walk to the Badge collection centre  located just off the Gare Maritime.

It was quite crowded, and everyone seemed to be in a hurry. Security was tight and you had to be screened before you enter the Palais des Festivals et des Congrès.

As I was staying some distance away from the city centre, I first decided to get all available information like bus schedules, etc. Luckily, the terminus was just down the road and I managed to secure a 1-week bus pass for €15.

Then it was time to have a drink and take in the scene. By this time, I had been awake for almost 20 hours so two drinks were all it took to make blur. Grabbing the nearest taxi, I ended up at the Goélia Mandelieu Riviera Resort.

The next morning, I woke up super early; it’s a 6-hour time difference.

I had a quick bite and then headed off to the bus stop. Being too tired the day before, I misunderstood the instructions. The stop was 3km away from my hotel!

Being a nice and windy day, I decided to walk. It’s pleasant and you get to see the beautiful coastline of the French Riveria.

I finally reached the bus stop and realized I had just missed the bus by a few minutes. The next bus would be around in an hour. Luckily there was small beach café and I sat myself down and enjoyed a nice cold Orangina.

The bus to Cannes takes about 20 minutes. After a few stops, you start to notice that many passengers were wearing a Cannes Lions badge. Remaining with this group, we walked from the SNCF to the Palais.

After a thorough security check, I was in – what an amazing feeling.

There were just so many sessions going on and I could not decide which to attend. I spent an hour or so just walking the entire stretch of the beach and checking all the cabanas along the way.

After some aimless walking I found a nice quaint café and parked myself there. Rosé was about €4.50 per glass so I had quite a few. Obviously, the next day onwards I realized the full bottle was only €28, so I got smart.

Feeling a little hungry I walked by many restaurants, but they were all packed. My options were then some food trucks or McD. I did not travel 10,000 KM to have something I can get just across the office in TTDI.

Being a “Hamlet”, I decided to get a Ham sandwich and a bottle of Coke. Decent portion for €8.

By then it was getting too hot, so I decided to go back to the Palais and check out stuff that was happening there. There were quite a few good presentations going on and having a Rep badge gave me full access to everything.

By around 5pm, you can notice people are rushing around. Apparently, all deciding which parties to attend. I decided to kaypoh and followed the most happening crowd. Apparently, all the fun was going down at the Spotify event on C-Beach.

Definitely a lot of fun, some cool DJs, good music and lots of booze and bubbly.

The sun sets late, and it only gets dark around 9:30pm. So I completely forgot the bus ends around 10pm, and I was not in the mood to walk 3km again.

So, I decided took a taxi.

I was warned by Ham that they are all “mafias” and charge exorbitant rates, but I guess the authorities here clamped down and they now have metered fixed rates. Still cost over RM100 to get back though.

Repeating the same thing again the next morning, was back at Cannes.

I was invited to lunch by the Epica Awards team so headed directly to their booth along the beach. Some amazing AI Jury tech was being touted (read more at Marketing Magazine). I had the chance to meet some aweome people and the first thing they all said to me was “Where’s Ham?”.

After a simple meal and lots of wine, I walked back towards the Terrace at the Palais. I then heard my name being called and turned around to see Prashant Kumar. He was heading towards the yachts. After some small talk, we planned to catch up later at the Accenture Song yacht for drinks.The good thing about Cannes is that there’s so much going on but the bad thing is you have so little time. Before I knew it, 5 days flew by and I found myself completely tanned, super fit from all the walking and dreading the long flight back home. But hey I was missing my Roti Kosong Banjir and the Mrs. and kids, so back to Nice and then onwards home via Doha.

I think we all should make it a point to experience Cannes Lions once in our lives.

Some history: Inspired by the Cannes Film Festival, staged in Cannes since the late 1940s, a group of cinema screen advertising contractors belonging to the Screen Advertising World Association (Sawa) felt the makers of advertising films should be similarly recognised.

They established the International Advertising Film Festival, the first of which took place in Venice, Italy, in September 1954, with 187 film entries from 14 countries. The lion of the Piazza San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for the Lion trophy.

This article was first published on MARKETING Weekender

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The APPIES is an annual event that presents a rare opportunity for creative, media, digital and marketing agencies or brands to present their best campaigns to the industry.

This is the only event where Live Presentations meets Live Judging.

Similar to TED Talks, The APPIES is the chance for great presenters with outstanding work to show it off to some of the industry’s most important industry leaders.

This year’s winners will receive Gold, Silver or Bronze trophies for 21 categories, and 6 special Best of Best categories (red trophies) that require no submissions!

Campaign entries must have run between June 2023 to May 2024

Submissions Deadline
30th June 2024

APPIES Festival – Judging & Presentations
11th – 12th July 2024 (Malaysia)


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