Here’s the Definitive Plan for Your Week at Cannes

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity can be sensory (and scheduling) overload, whether you're a first-time attendee or a Palais pro.

With so many options for things to do, Adweek's editors decided to create a daily guide of talks worth taking in and prime spots to sip rosé.


Monday, June 20

8 a.m. Find a quiet cafe to fuel up and shake off your jet lag with an Americano and some brioche.

9 a.m. If you haven't already, head to the Palais and register to get your badge.

12:15 p.m. Session to see: "Block You: Why World Class Creativity Will Obliterate Ad Blocking," featuring IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg and reps from the publishing and agency worlds. Location: Forum

2 p.m. First timer? Take a "How to Cannes" tour of the Palais from 2-2:30 p.m.

3 p.m. Want to be on the cover of Adweek? Of course you do. Walk over to the Grand Hotel's entry courtyard to meet the Adweek team and pose at our photo booth for your own customized Adweek cover, which you can share instantly on your social media accounts. 3-5 p.m. Location: Grand Hotel

5 p.m. Session to see: "Reimagine Play" with 360i CEO Sarah Hofstetter and Mattel evp Geoff Walker. 5-5:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Debussy

6 p.m. Head to the Lions Rooftop for free drinks, networking and some general unwinding. Reception lasts till 7:30 p.m., with a "Meet the Speakers" opportunity starting at 6.

7 p.m. Watch the first Lions of the week get handed out at the awards show for Promo & Activation, Print & Publishing, Radio, Direct and Glass Lions. 7-9 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

9 p.m. Kick off the first night of festivities at the Cannes Lions Opening Gala with free drinks, food and thumpin' bass on the Carlton Beach. It's a good spot to meet friends and plan the rest of your night.

1 a.m. To the Gutter Bar!


Tuesday, June 21

8 a.m. Pastries, caffeine, mild regrets.

10 a.m. Session to see: "Disruption by Design," featuring R/GA co-founder Bob Greenberg and vice chairman Nick Law. 10-10:30 a.m. Location: Inspiration Stage (NOTE: Requires Lions Innovation pass.)

11 a.m. Session to see: "The Pursuit of Impact," featuring actor/musician Will Smith, interviewed by Edelman creative strategy chair Jackie Cooper. 11-11:45 a.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

12 p.m. Session to see: Stay in your seat after Will Smith to see Wendy Clark, CEO of DDB North America and former Coca-Cola exec, speak on "Managing the Present and Inventing the Future." 12-12:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

1 p.m. You've been sitting a long time. Head inland a block or two and find a nice spot for lunch. Bring a friend (old or new) and crack open your first bottle of rosé for the day. Update Instagram to really rub salt in the FOMO wound of your friends back home.

3 p.m. Session to see: "Adventures in Virtual Reality" with Google vp of VR Clay Bavor and immersive filmmakers. 3-3:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

4 p.m. If it's your first time at the Lions, head to the "First Timers" meetup to find fellow French Riviera rookies and even get your portrait taken by a Getty photographer. 4-4:30 p.m. Location: Getty Images Gallery in the Palais.

5 p.m. Session to see: "The Art of (Brand) Seduction" with FCB global CCO Susan Credle and neuroscientist/ adviser Dr. Helen Fisher. 5-5:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Debussy

8:30 p.m. Check out one of the best spectator sports in advertising as Shutterstock brings its Pixels of Fury contest to the Palais Terrace. Art directors wage a real-time design battle in front of an increasingly intoxicated crowd. The contest runs from 8:30-10:30 p.m., but Shutterstock will keep the party going until midnight.

11 p.m. Find some Scandinavian creatives and ask them where the party's at. They'll know what's up.

1 a.m. To the Gutter Bar!


Wednesday, June 22

8 a.m. Nescafé in your room while you browse AgencySpy to make sure none of your Cannes colleagues are mentioned in it yet.

10 a.m. Session to see: "Star Trek Beyond: Retelling an Iconic Story for a New Generation" with the nerdgasmic combo of Simon Pegg, Zachary Quinto and Chris Pine. 10-10:45 a.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

11:30 a.m. Session to see: "Snackable, Unskippable Content" with Twitter's Jennifer Price and Sony Pictures digital marketing evp Elias Plishner. 11:30 a.m.-12 p.m. Location: Forum

12 p.m. Anderson Cooper interviews Anthony Bourdain from 12-12:45 p.m. in the Théâtre Lumière, but if you're a Gwyneth Paltrow fan, you might want to skip and claim a spot in line for her 1 p.m. session.

1 p.m. Gwyneth Paltrow talks to BBC World News' Stephen Sackur from 1-1:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Debussy. No interest? Check out Wired's Kevin Kelly at the Lumière in the same time slot.

2 p.m. Take a breather. Grab a crepe and an Orangina. Somehow hold both while you pose for a selfie with the beach behind you. Run back inside.

3 p.m. Iggy Pop talks with Grey London chairman and CCO Nils Leonard. Worth it just to hear their wildly different accents. 3-3:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

4 p.m. Session to see: "Unleashing the Power of Diversity in Tech" featuring Girls Who Code founder Reshma Saujani. 4:15-4:45 p.m. Location: Inspiration Stage. NOTE: Requires Lions Innovation pass.

5 p.m. Session to see: "How to Do Work That Speaks Every Language" featuring Crispin Porter + Bogusky execs Chuck Porter and Lori Senecal, along with creatives from CP+B offices in Hong Kong and Brazil.

7 p.m. Drop by the awards show for Creative Data, Innovation, Mobile, Media and Cyber Lions from 7-9 p.m. in Lumière Théâtre.

9:30 p.m. If your ticket includes Innovation Lions access, don't miss the beachside party that closes out the mini-conference. 9:30 p.m.-12 a.m. Check Cannes Lions smartphone app for location.

1 a.m. To the Gutter Bar!


Thursday, June 23

8 a.m. Sip espresso while wearing sunglasses and rubbing your head—and dammit, why are the seagulls so bloody loud today?

10:30 a.m. Hear from the CMOs of Airbnb, Johnson & Johnson and EY (Ernst & Young) at a panel moderated by The Economist. 10:30-11:30 a.m. Location: Cannes Beach

11 a.m. Got an Entertainment Lions pass? Skip out of the CMO panel and head to Mindy Kaling's 11 a.m. talk.

12 p.m. Session to see: "From Underdogs to Game-Changers" featuring Under Armour CEO Kevin Plank and David Droga. 12-12:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

1 p.m. Stay in your seats in the Théâtre Lumière because up next is the comedy trio of Rashida Jones, Keegan-Michael Key and Rob Delaney. 1-1:45 p.m.

2 p.m. No seriously, don't get up. Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu is taking the Lumière stage with Ogilvy's Tham Khai Meng. 2-2:45 p.m.

3 p.m. If you've got a Lions Entertainment pass, you can go see WWE chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon. She's speaking with someone else ... AND HIS NAME IS JOHN CENA! 3-3:45 p.m.

4 p.m. Stretch your legs and walk down the Croisette to see what's happening at YouTube Beach, Facebook Beach, Twitter Beach and anywhere else with free refreshments and fun toys.

6 p.m. Want to get a Guinness World Record for ... brainstorming? A group will attempt to set the record for "largest creative thinking lesson" while coming up with ways to build on the Movember movement. 6-6:45 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

8 p.m. Explore the alleys and back streets of old town Cannes to find a nice spot for a luxuriant, decadent, hours-long feast. Or as the French call it, "a weekday dinner." Some options: Mantel, La Mirabelle or anywhere else you can find a nice table on the popular walking path, Rue Saint-Antoine.

1 a.m. To the Gutter Bar!


Friday, June 24

8 a.m. Walk the beach, load up your Instagram and marvel at how fast the week went.

9 a.m. This is a good slot to schedule a breakfast meeting with someone interesting you met but didn't get enough time to talk to. Or maybe ... a recruiter?

12 p.m. If you've got a Lions Entertainment pass, go see "Uptown Funk" mastermind Mark Ronson talking to Spotify creative director Richard Frankel. 12-12:45 p.m. Location: Inspiration Stage

1 p.m. Quick crepe or sandwich for lunch, then back to it.

2:15 p.m. If you like your creative weird and your fashion fast, check out Uniqlo's global creative president, John C Jay, as he chats with Isobar global CEO Jean Lin. 2:15-3 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

3:15 p.m. Session to see: "How to Do Terrible Work" with the Snickers marketing power tandem of BBDO Worldwide CCO David Lubars and former Mars global CMO Bruce McColl. 3:15-4 p.m. Location: Théâtre Debussy

4 p.m. Stick around the Palais for more great sessions (especially if you have a Lions Entertainment pass) or spend a few hours walking the town, shopping for souvenirs or just exploring neighborhoods you never got around to.

10 p.m. If you've got a Lions Entertainment pass, you'd be a fool to miss the subconference's after-party on the Palais Terrace. TIMBALAND MIGHT BE THERE! 10 p.m.-12 a.m.

1 a.m. To the Gutter Bar!


Saturday, June 25

8 a.m. Sleep in. Sprawl out. Be lazy.

10 a.m. Get serious about souvenir shopping. If you don't feel like spending a fortune at trendy Rue D'Antibes shops, head north and walk along Rue Meynadier where discounts abound.

12 p.m. Lunch! Wherever you find yourself, you'll have plenty of options for a nice bistro meal.

2 p.m. There are two good agency presentations back-to-back in the Théâtre Debussy: MullenLowe's Jose Miguel Sokoloff at 2 p.m. on the literal life-saving power of creativity, and Forsman & Bodenfors creatives Anna Qvennerstedt and Ted Mellström at 2:45 p.m.

3 p.m. More shopping, exploring and maybe a bottle or two of rosé.

6 p.m. Show up early to claim a spot in line for the big awards show, where Film, Film Craft, Integrated and Titanium Lions will be announced, along with the agencies of the year and more. 7-9 p.m. Location: Théâtre Lumière

9 p.m. Closing gala time! Get some selfies with people carrying Lions around, and confess your professional crushes while you still have time. 9 p.m.-12 a.m. Location: Cannes Lions Beach

1 a.m. Go crazy, but be safe. Most important, set your phone alarm so you don't miss your flight home.

This story first appeared in the June 13, 2016 issue of Adweek magazine.
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