Our Cannes Contributor Chimes in Pre-Flight

By Kiran Aditham 

While yours truly languishes in the humidity shrouding NYC as of now, we’ll be receiving daily Cannes reports from one Chris Zander, managing director/partner at Venice, CA-based prodco, Backyard. As he awaits his flight to the French Riviera, Zander, who will be be going rogue in a sense for the duration of this year’s Cannes Lions, tells us in his first submission, why go in the first place? Consider this an introduction post more than anything if you will. Stay tuned and you can follow Zander at @realchriszander.

Tonight, I’ll be on Delta 82 to Nice with half of the advertising world.  The next five days will be a whirlwind of dinners, drinks, villa parties, networking, late night dancing and late morning jogs.  This year my travel partner will be Kris Mathur, my good friend, Backyard’s esteemed executive producer, and the real Most Interesting Man in the World.


If you want the Cannes Ad Festival updates, you are in the wrong place.  I won’t be buying a delegate pass.  I tried going “official”  one year, and went to multiple sanctioned events.  It wasn’t for me.  I discovered that short list screenings were a perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep.

My guess is that at least half of the annual attendees are in Cannes as unofficial delegates.  Walk around the Gutter Bar before the sun comes up next Sunday morning, and you may see one or two happy people carrying around Gold Lions…maybe.  Trust me: if the crowd was limited to the award winners and delegates, the festival wouldn’t be nearly as fun, crowded, and colorful, and almost everybody would be asleep by midnight.  There would be nobody in the street to pose for pictures with the Leopard Ladies.  The energy level would be severely reduced, and the opportunity to be taken on day trips to Saint Tropez would we greatly diminished.

Why do we spend the valuable time and the resources to go to this annual event?  Especially since I’m 100% sure that Backyard won’t be winning the Palme D’Or this year (good luck David Z!).  Here are a few reasons:

1. It’s fun.
2. It’s a perfect time to turn off my usual responsibilities and meet with clients and co-workers in a beautiful setting.  Kris and I will be having some delicious lunches and fabulous dinners with our ad agency friends that we normally don’t have time for.  3.We’ll also be meeting up with our dear friends from The Family, Diane Patrone and Anna Rotholz, and having a few incredible bonding experiences with them.
4. We are opening an office in South Africa this month, and this will be a perfect opportunity to hang out with our new partner, Janette De Villiers, and to meet as many of her countrymen as possible.

Finally, it’s inspiring to be surrounded by creative people from all over the world.  I come back every year with a newfound appreciation for the global advertising industry.  Where else can you be surrounded by a unique mass of humanity that is curious and intelligent and friendly AND good dancers?  I haven’t found any other place.

I’ll send a report back to Agency Spy every day this week and give you my Official Unofficial rosé-colored point of view.  Thanks.