Ashish Khazanchi
Guest Article

First-timer at Cannes? Here's what you could do

Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous, has some tips for delegates at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022.

The moment you land up at the croisette, I want you to do a very simple exercise that’ll save you a lot of time as a first timer. Look around. Look carefully around. At all the Greeks, the Italians, the Brazilians and the French. If you’re a keen observer, and I’m guessing you are and that’s why you’re here in Cannes, you’ll notice that they all won the looks and the savoir faire sweepstakes. Now what I’m about to tell you is going to save you a hell of a lot of time and heartbreak. Don’t even try.

Now that I’ve freed up a hell of a lot of time that you’d otherwise have wasted in many pointless pursuits, here how then to maximise everything Cannes.

The Palais and all the talks and all the displays can be overwhelming at the very least. There are equal numbers of people rushing in opposite directions at the same time. And all of them talking about the incredible talk that they just came out of, which you possibly missed.

Essentially what you should aim to watch, boils down to what you are the most excited about. You’re going to miss out plenty too and remember that’s okay, at least for me, watching the network agency money go down the drain.

I’d say don’t just rush to the palais without having done some homework. There’s the Cannes website and also a very convenient app which can help you organise. First up figure out what talks you’d be most interested in and mark them in your calendar or in the app. Since the advertising entry showcases are repeated, you could always come back to them. Or even watch some of the ones you missed, online later.

There’s the Ryan Reynolds talk which most wouldn’t want to miss for the world. He’s, his Hollywood stardom aside, the chief creative officer of maximum effort. An agency that’s turning the rules of content and advertising on its head. Pencil that in right now. Similar stuff by many other legends should be a part of your itinerary.

Also don’t just get lost in advertising. For the ones who don’t mind missing a day from the fest. Go to Saint Paul de Vance if there’s just one place you can find enough time or euros for. There’s Saint Tropez for the ones with a very lenient agency CFO and Nice for the starving artists romantics with its Chagall, Miro and Matisse museums.

While in Cannes, dine at the croisette at all the places that’ll give you a great foie gras and cafe in the end. Persuade a senior to take you to the far end of the promenade to get some absolutely delightful and frightfully expensive oysters and rosè. If you can find a rich producer to leech from, more power to you.

You have surely done something right in the course of the year to land up at the hallowed grounds of creativity and innovation.

Be a sponge, soak in the inspiration, soak in the happiness. Stand shamelessly next to people you’ve only heard or read about. There’s inspiration everywhere. It was like a shot of cocaine to the head the first time I’d come here. I couldn’t sleep on the flight back home. May incredible ideas and hunger be your fellow passengers from this point on.

(The author is managing partner, Enormous)

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