My Cannes prediction: The Palais vs. the Gutter Bar

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Have fun, but please remember to pick up your delegate pass

Cannes is really a tale of two Croisettes. One path leads to the Palais. The other, the Gutter Bar. I predict we’ll see a lot of folks throwing themselves headlong into one or the other.

Unfortunately for those people, they will not get the full benefits of Cannes. To fully enjoy all that Cannes has to offer, it’s important to experience both Croisettes.

Croisette # 1: The Palais
The Palais approach to Cannes focuses on the best that The Lions have to offer — and (hopefully) the reason we’re all in this crazy, unpredictable business in the first place. Creativity!

Cannes provides an amazing opportunity for us to each get out of our own national bubble and be inspired by the best work and greatest ideas from around the world and across an ever-expanding collection of genres. It could be a new way to get kids to take their medicine, a music video, a new product or use of pre-roll or an innovative OOH campaign. You never know what country or category will have that one idea that blows you away.

With so much happening at the Palais, from the work on display to the amazing speakers to the award ceremonies, there are some people who will fill their entire weeks and almost never see the light of day. Which I highly, highly do not recommend. Absolutely see the work. Definitely watch the panels. Without a doubt, attend your boss’s thing. Then head outside and to the "other Croisette."

Croisette #2: The Gutter Bar
Despite all the action at the Palais, many attendees will never even bother to pick up their delegate passes. I know. I have been one of those people.

Instead, these folks will be sucked into the spectacle of it all. The amazing parties. Rubbing shoulders with celebrities. Yachts. Drinking rosé by the magnum. And of course the inevitable end-gaming at The Gutter Bar, which — remember people! — you can never remove from other people’s Instagram feeds.

It’s not just fun – it’s a legitimate piece of the inspiration puzzle. It’s here that you bond with colleagues and clients, and meet amazing people from the worlds of technology, media, social activism, entertainment and much more. Relationships are developed (not to mention a healthy amount of jealousy mixed with inspiration, that can lead to some of the best ideas in the years to come.

Of course, clients attend Cannes in droves, and your competitors might be cozying up to them while you are nursing a hangover.  And those awesome young creatives you brought with you to Cannes to reward them for all of their brilliance? They’re talking to a few recruiters they met on the Thursday night party circuit.   

But at the end of the day, we’re all ridiculously fortunate to be able to go to the French Riviera essentially as a reward for doing our jobs well. Be sure to take advantage of every last bit.  

The best of both worlds
The lines between advertising, entertainment, technology and business strategy have been irreversibly blurred, making Cannes more crowded — and more valuable — than it’s ever been. Neither the Palais nor the Gutter Bar have ever been more exciting.

So, do it all. Go to the fancy dinners. Attend the after-parties and the after-after-parties. Then, get that pot of coffee going so you can make at least one 9am panel.

My prediction? A lot of sleep on the flight home. 

Follow all our Cannes coverage via our dedicated blog.

Leslie Sims is chief creative officer at Y&R New York.

Cannes Lions 2015 Coverage


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