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Simian Presents Helpful Tips for Making the Most out of Cannes

June 7, 2019

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It’s that time of year again – as the industry gets ready to decamp for the French Riviera, Simian presents our third Cannes blog in the interests of everyone’s sanity and well-being!

We’ve covered this territory before, most recently in 2016. Like the rest of this industry, Cannes is constantly evolving, so we thought we’d reprise our Cannes Survival Guide and update it for 2019.

We reached out to a cross-section of people who make the trek there, from EPs to reps to industry consultants and PR experts, and asked them about their best places to go, worst places to go, must-see events, most gratifying moments and more.

A few toplines emerged: Avoid the Carlton. When you can, nap on the beach. Pace yourself, wear sensible shoes and don’t forget to hydrate! But beyond that, there are some great insights here, along with useful advice. Enjoy!


Roe Bressan

Roe Bressan, Change Agent, Navigating
www.navigating.tv

What are the must-attend events in Cannes?
Cannes is a 24 hour happening. It’s the posse you’re rolling with that makes any event a must-attend. Knowing how to pace the rosé is a given....or sometimes not ;-)

What’s the best place for drinks, dinner with clients, etc., where you won’t be overrun by ad people?
Ask the reps. They have all the secrets, and they work hard to make it look easy. Anyway, there’s plenty of spots to be found, but what’s wrong with bumping into ad industry peeps? That’s one of the best things about Cannes.

Top Cannes Fails: your worst experience there?
I fell the first time in Cannes, wearing the wrong shoes – cobblestones. Never did that again, but I did go shopping.


Ashley Hydrick

Ashley Hydrick, Co-Founder, Above + Beyond Films
https://www.above-beyond.film/

Top tip I have PERIOD for Cannes is do not drink all the free rosé that’s offered!! You’ve gotta pace yourself :) You literally meet interesting people everywhere you go, because during the festival you’re just surrounded by folks in our industry.


Julie Thompson

Julie Thompson, Founder, Julie Thompson, Inc.
www.juliethompsoninc.com

What are the must-attend events in Cannes?
Any and every content session where you can learn about the future of our business. From the Palais to private activations, be a total sponge. Think about Cannes ROI, not just for your company, but for your own brain. The big platforms have content galore and throw the usual big parties, and yacht row will be full of co-hosted, partnered-up boats. But this year’s buzz is around smaller, even micro events. For instance, instead of my annual 150-person Thursday dinner, I’ve partnered with WarnerMedia and SundayDinner, and we’re doing a guided conversation at a seated dinner for 25. This year, people want personalized experiences and real dialogues.

What’s the best place for drinks, dinner with clients, etc., where you won’t be overrun by ad people?
Anywhere off La Croisette, up in the hills or up or down the Bay of Cannes, either East or West. Mougins, Vence, Golfe Juan, Juan les Pins, Antibes, Nice, Mandelieu-la-Napoule, St. Tropez… The Lérins Islands across the bay are also great, quick escapes.

Top Cannes Fails: What’s your worst experience there?
When we almost killed my client at one of my annual Cannes dinners! There was an unmarked pasta on the gastronomic buffet that had lobster in the sauce, which wasn’t apparent until after several bites. An anaphylactic reaction ensued, as she is deathly allergic to shellfish. Luckily, we were near the marina, and a ship’s medic had an epinephrine pen. Close call. Or when two new clients from the same company were mugged, drugged and robbed. Not fun.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had – one that made you think, ‘you know, this is really worth it’?
When I return year after year to real friends in Cannes––both locals and ex-pats––and when I reunite with work friends from all over the world, I still pinch myself. Who knew I would visit Monique the salad-maker at the beachfront kiosk for literally two decades now? (Glad I tipped her well that first year so she’d remember me.) That simple, shared history has always reminded me to treat people well wherever you travel, because you never know when you might return.


Greg Kuehn

Greg Kuehn, Creative Director, Peligro Music
http://www.peligromusic.com/

Best places you didn’t know existed, best kept secrets or hidden gems?
Le Fouquet’s Hotel.

Your favorite place to get away from crowds or other ad people?
The beach!

The most important awards events and/or seminars to attend while in Cannes?
Honestly, I just go for the great parties!

Top tips for surviving the late nights?
Naps and lots of water.

Your most indispensable piece of technology or gear?
My Mophie Powerstation.


Elijah B. Torn

Elijah B. Torn, Senior Creative Director, MassiveMusic New York
www.massivemusic.com

What are the must-attend events in Cannes?
You mean other than the MMMMbassy Party? Does going on a boat count as an event?

Best place for drinks, dinner with clients, etc.?
The pizza boat! Also De Laura is fantastic Italian food and knowing that Laura is there making sure everything is to her level of quality. Le Maschou- because who doesn't love plates of meat and bowls of vegetables. Also the secret 24hour panini place.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had – one that made you think, ‘you know, this is really worth it’?
The secret 24 hour panini place AVEC frites!

Top tips for surviving the late nights?
Drink More Water.


Kathrin Lausch

Kathrin Lausch, VP Of Production and Client Services, URBAN | CVLT
www.urbanstudionyc.com / www.cvltproduction.com

What are the must-attend events in Cannes?
The New Directors Showcase, so many good panels, fireworks with a bottle of chilled rosé and catching some good names in the ad world skinny dipping while shit-faced.

Best best place for drinks, dinner with clients, etc.?
Saint-Paul de Vence is a must-see, with great little restaurants, and Île Sainte-Marguerite, the island that’s not far from the port, has nice places as well. Also, the Miro sculpture garden (at Fondation Maeght) and the Picasso Museum should be a destination. We are cultural beings after all and need to recharge on the old masters, n’est-ce pas?

Top Cannes Fails: what’s your worst experience?
Sunburned back, gala dress, suitcase never came, pump heel snapped at the beginning of the evening while miles from hotel, boss got drunk and insulted every client possible, boss got drunk and threw up on client, boss passed out at the Carlton in full sight of everyone…

Biggest industry celebrity you’d like to meet?
There are always new ones, but one of my favorites is Leo Burnett’s Michael Conrad.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had – one that made you think, ‘you know, this is really worth it’?
Last year the Parkland shooting survivors students spoke about impact and change and the power of advertising.


Kris Mathur

Kris Mathur, VP/Executive Producer, Backyard Productions
www.backyard.com

Best places you didn’t know existed, best kept secrets or hidden gems?
Arcimboldo, the Italian bistro hidden just around the corner from 72 Croisette, better known as the Gutter Bar.

Worst restaurants, bars, places to meet clients, etc.?
72 Croisette (except for coffee in the morning).

Your favorite place to get away from crowds or other ad people?
Hotel du Cap in Antibes or on a boat.

Top Cannes Fails: your worst experiences there!
Cannot discuss in a public forum.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had?
Chilling by the pool at our old villa with a bottle of rosé and a Bolivar.

Top tips for surviving the late nights?
One Badoit between each drink.


Cindy Gallop

Cindy Gallop, Consultant + Founder/CEO, MakeLoveNotPorn and All The Sky Holdings
https://www.makelovenotporn.com / https://www.alltheskyholdings.com

What’s your worst experience there?
Mine would be getting sexually harassed there in 2014. (You can read more about it here.) Because of that, my tip for men attending Cannes this year is, 'Don't sexually harass anyone.' My tip for women is, if anyone tries anything with you, publicly call them out immediately and report them to their employer and the Festival.


Jenna Wigman

Jenna Wigman, VP/Partner, Press Kitchen
http://presskitchen.com/

What are the must-attend events in Cannes?

  • The official opening and closing galas. They’re a perfect mix of all of the quintessential Cannes elements: food, drinks (rosé, of course), networking and music. The footprint of the event allows you to pick your own vibe. If you’re into rockin’ out on the dance floor, then feel free to let loose; if you’re more into sipping champagne and discussing the future of creativity and technology, then get yourself into the VIP.
  • The party at Hotel Du Cap (never been able to crack that one) is always the most celeb-filled and a very tough invite to snag.
  • Anything on a yacht is always a great option. If you get invited on a boat excursion, say yes and figure out the rest of the details of your day around that. Definitely make sure you pack your Dramamine, as that is not a part of the event you want to be remembered for.


Top Cannes Fails: what’s your worst experience there?
Flip flops--don’t do it. While they seem like the perfect go-to beach shoe, they have no support and will rapidly begin to dig into places you didn’t even realize they were touching.

Biggest industry celebrity you’d like to meet?
I’d love to have a chance to sit down and chat with Lee Clow. True legend.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had – one that made you think, ‘you know, this is really worth it’?
I’m not sure if I can pinpoint a specific moment, but I find that at least once each time I’m there I feel a unique sense of camaraderie and excitement for the future of the industry. While we all get caught up in the daily tasks at hand and scrutiny over certain issues. By getting together once a year to celebrate the creativity that is the driving force of what we all do, you really walk away with a renewed sense of excitement and inspiration for the year to come.


Marta Harasymowicz

Marta Harasymowicz, Directors’ Agent, Go East Films
http://goeast.tv/

Best places you don’t know exist / best kept secrets / hidden gems?
There’s a restaurant where I’ve had the best mussels. I think it used to be a hidden gem, but now everyone knows about it! I hesitate to give you the name, to avoid attracting even more people to it!!

Worst restaurants, bars, places to meet clients, etc.?
The Carlton. Way too crowded.

Your favorite place to get away from crowds or other ad people.
By the water, of course!

What are the most important awards events and/or seminars to attend while in Cannes?
From our experience it’s been the parties where you can mingle with all your clients. And getting into the biggest ones, and as many as possible, is key.

Top Cannes Fails: your worst experiences there?
Getting robbed on the Croisette. And zero police around.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had.
That would have to be seeing Jon Hamm at the Martinez.

Top tips for surviving the late nights?
Skipping them :). And if one must, H20, H20, H20. And avoiding loud places. I’ve lost my voice multiple times.

Most indispensable piece of technology or electronics.
Your smartphone of course. Just make sure it’s got all the passes and clients numbers in it, lol.


Hersh Rephun

Hersh Rephun, Chief Creative Officer, Propeller 5 Brand Strategy & Creative
https://propeller5.com/

Best places you didn’t know existed, best kept secrets or hidden gems?
The Hotel Croisette Beach (newly reopened at M Gallery). It’s just around the corner from the Carlton, and it always had an elegant little bar in the lobby that I only discovered one year when I stayed there.

What are the worst restaurants, bars or places to meet clients?
The worst place is any restaurant in Old Town at which you don't have a reservation.

What are the most important events to attend?
I will no doubt be playing piano somewhere, late at night. Being asked to stop playing is a reward in itself.

Top Cannes Fails: your worst experience there!
See above.

Most rewarding Cannes experience you’ve ever had?
Emerging from a break of dawn dip in the Mediterranean at 5 am and continuing on to a client meeting with water still dripping into my loafers.

Your most indispensable piece of technology or gear?
My ankle bracelet.


Tomas Krejci

Tomas Krejci, Executive Producer, At Swim
www.atswim.tv

Best places you didn’t know existed, best kept secrets or hidden gems?
Such place does NOT exist in Cannes, at least not anymore.

Worst restaurants, bars or places to meet clients?
The Carlton.

Your favorite place to get away from crowds or other ad people.
La Téoulière.

What’s most important awards events and/or seminars to attend?
For us, it’s the YDA.

Top Cannes Fails: your worst experience there!
Being drunk in the morning.

Your most rewarding Cannes experience?
Being sober in the morning.

Top tips for surviving the late nights?
Having a nap on the Croisette beach in front of the Martinez Hotel.

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