Chris Zander, managing director/partner at Venice, CA-based prodco, Backyard, chimes in from the French Riviera and talks about why Cannes is still worth attending. So, we’ll indulge and live vicariously through him for the next few days. Stay tuned for more and you can follow Zander at @realchriszander.
I’ve come to Cannes eleven times over the past thirteen years, and most of the trips have blurred into each other. Whenever somebody asks me what has changed since my first trip here, I usually answer that nothing has really changed but some of the faces. Tuesday night here could always be counted on for being quiet…the calm before the storm. But last night, for the first Tuesday night ever, the restaurants and bars were packed. The streets were buzzing, and the Carlton was overflowing like the typical Thursday nights of the past. Digital and Innovation have finally caught up to TV. There is a palpable energy here, and a bigger SXSW-type of crowd. There is an energy of excitement…what is coming next??
The last twenty-four hours have flown by. Yesterday morning, I landed at Nice Airport and ran into a friend who is the president of a NY-based ad agency. As luck would have it, I needed a ride into Cannes, and he had a driver with a Mercedes.
After dropping my stuff off in the apartment, I went to the South African Villa party, where I met several top SA-based creative directors who were taking a break from the Festival to have a nice lunch and a swim. I spoke to a smart lady named Zoe who is the Cultural Anthropologist for an international ad conglomerate. I met a NY-based creative heavyweight named Ronald who we shot with over 15 years ago on a comedy campaign. I also spent twenty minutes talking to a guy named Lance who lives in the UK and travels around to the best beaches in the world to find seashells to sell in gift shops. I asked him if he was happy, and he thought for a minute and answered yes. He took my card and told me that we would be in touch because his business is expanding, and he might need to talk…
At our Backyard dinner last night, we dined on Fruits de Mer with a cross section of fresh new faces and multiple award winners in various stages of jetlag. CPB, The Martin Agency, Wexley School For Girls, McCann and Grey were in the house. Our associate from Sweden brought some Scandinavian color. Over at another table was a similar disparate group. The conversation was free-flowing and diverse; we discussed everything from the Cyber Jury deliberations to the tasty oysters sitting in front of us. The night was a perfect moment in Cannes – the reason I’ll keep looking forward to this annual pilgrimage for years to come.
One final thought before I jump into the action today. Rosé tastes delicious in the South of France, and the same bottle tastes terrible everywhere else.