Cannes Lions Kicks Off

With Nick Jonas, no less

     After the long flight sans Internet, Adweek has arrived in Cannes, and Cannes Lions—the most prestigious advertising awards ceremony in the world—is already underway. The first shortlists have just been released for Direct and Promo & Activation, with more to come today and throughout the week. Meanwhile, delegates, heavy hitters and otherwise, are gathering around the Palais and on the Boulevard de la Croisette. Unless I’m mistaken, that was R/GA chairman and CEO Bob Greenberg sitting first class on the red-eye from New York. (It would, however, be hard to mistake him.)

     A few things to look forward to today, including a heavily hyped appearance by Nick Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, which begins a series on “What the Music Industry Can Teach Advertisers,” which will also feature Patti Smith, Pharrell Williams, and later in the week. Jonas joins Frederick Townes, chief technology officer at Mashable, Bob Garfield, author of Chaos Scenario, Nathan Coyle, general manager at Cambio, and Ian Wolfman, chief marketing officer at imc2.


     But much of what happens at Cannes Lions takes place outside the Palais, at parties both public and private. And if past attendees are reliable guides, many of those parties usually end up at 72 Croisette, officially known as the Gutter Bar. Both British writer Mark Tungate and former advertising exec James P. Othmer have written books called Ad Land; both begin their chapters on Cannes Lions at the Gutter Bar, which Tungate calls as “a key axis” of the festival and Othmer describes as “a tiny yet unthinkably loud café on the French Riviera.” According to a delegate I boarded the plane with today, the “thousand-something people” in there mean you can never get in. But “hang around long enough,” Tungate writes, “and you’re guaranteed to either rub up against an advertising industry luminary, or hear some useful gossip about one.”

     More to come on that front. For now, the weather is beautiful in Cannes, and the Palais is starting to buzz.