"All my bags are packed, I am ready to go", John Denver's classic played in my mind as I left homeland for the 60th Annual Cannes Lions Advertising Festival. Though this is my second visit to the Mecca of Creativity, my excitement and enthusiasm are even more than last year. My debut, last year, was something that I will always cherish as an unforgettable experience, but this year I plan to add to my experience and make it better.
Cannes just brings out the best in you, was the thought passing through my mind as I stood sipping my fresh brew on my apartments' cosy balcony. How do I better the best I have seen so far - do more; see more; experience more? In fact, have to do everything I did last time and everything I missed last time!
Though the festival gives us new and interesting food for thought each time, it also keeps us on our toes, throughout. This time, however, I am better equipped and prepared to take on the hectic schedule, while keeping energy levels for the parties after, which I hadn't conserved for last time.
The parties I dragged myself through last time were as interesting as the sessions during the day - the networking, interactions, the thoughts and the ideas came that from across the globe. I am looking forward to them this time.
Desire to attend all the sessions and all the parties, every day, play on my mind - thoughts difficult to align with practicality. My curious self wonders how the leaders of the industry make it possible. I realise that it's a challenge that all of us face and have to work towards.
The 'Art of Prioritising' is the only solution that comes to mind. One has to prioritise and decide among all the interesting sessions, pick those one desires to attend the most and then keep time to party with 'the who's who of advertising,' literally.
Even while I say 'the who's who of advertising', I must add here that the most interesting part about this diversity is the equality that it brings with it. Each individual here is a leader in his/her own way and when we cross paths or exchange smiles, we are all equal. There is a charge and an aura in the air which envelopes us all the time. It can be named anything - from a creative force or the common ground which binds us all together, and makes one feel a part of this giant group. And, the more I meet/interact with people, the more I realise that everybody is thinking the same things here - what to attend /what not to miss, sessions and parties alike. It brings you back full circle.
I have decided to prioritise and take each day as it comes. So for today I look forward to the session on online content by Yahoo. And, I am definitely not missing BBDO's analysis of the best agency ever. Otherwise, 'take life as it happens' is the motto. However, I have already set my eyes on 'The new director's showcase' by Saatchi & Saatchi and 'Beyond the device' by Microsoft, in the days to come.
As I run for my first session of the morning, I am already thinking about the great French food and lovely people that I will meet today. This is a great place, not only for food for thought, but food for the stomach as well.
(Mandeep Malhotra is president, DDB MudraMax)