Reminiscing about good ol’ days at Cannes Lions...

From showing up late on a crucial day to cheering for the Turkish football team on the streets, adlanders have some zany stories to share from Cannes

e4m by Misbaah Mansuri
Published: Apr 15, 2021 8:32 AM  | 5 min read

Pulling an about-face, the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity finally announced last Wednesday that its 2021 event will be completely virtual in nature. The announcement comes after it was previously made known months ago that the five-day program planned for June 21-25 on the French Riviera would be a physical event. Now, the five-day edition will be fully digital running as Cannes Lions Live. That’s after the event was cancelled in its entirety last year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Cannes Lions-the in-person event has meant so much to everyone. From the ecstasy of winning a Lion to the excitement of networking with fellow industry colleagues, from the yacht parties to the enlightening sessions, adlanders with cherished memories of their former days at the festival share the same.

Read on…

Agnello Dias, Co-Founder, Taproot Dentsu and Creative Chairperson India, dentsu

"Well, it's not like I go to Cannes every year so as to really 'miss' it. But what I remember fondly are the many impromptu interactions with fellow advertising folk from around the world who you've either worked with, interacted virtually with, judged with or just known over the years. And then there is a large amount of serendipitous human interaction - someone you discover has done work you've always admired from a distance and just the physical proximity of planners, business managers, creatives, film producers and directors all mulling around the same place.”

Sumanto Chattopadhyay, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, 82.5 Communications, Ogilvy Group

“The world watched 2021 dawn with hope in its heart of getting back to old life. But now it is dawning on us that Covid-enforced ‘virtual reality’ is here to stay. The only way for Cannes to survive, therefore, is to go digital. It is a practical move. Some day—if and when it becomes safer to mingle—the beach-and-wine version of Cannes may be reinstated. Until then, here’s a digital toast to the nostalgia of the festival as we knew it and a warm welcome to the ‘modern’ avatar.”

Anil Nair, VMLY&R, CEO, India

“It’s that time of year again. When one would ordinarily have packed one’s linens and shades for a week on the Riviera. A time to reboot, meet with the global marketing and advertising community, learn from the best in the business and celebrate best-in-class work from around the world. One looked forward to this week as an antidote to the otherwise relentless nature of the advertising and marketing business through the rest of the year. A time to breathe, quaff some rosé, shoot the breeze with agency peers or simply take in the magnificence and glamour of this passionate business called advertising.

"Though most events have been forced to go digital and I am sure that the festival organisers - in true advertising style - will leave no stone unturned to make up for the loss of the physical experience, I will miss crossing paths with legends such as Hegarty, Droga, Pandey & Serpas, the energy, the colour, the chaos of the tightly packed events, the red carpet, the parties and the after-parties at The GutterBar. But all is not lost. I feel the digital version this year will make the festival accessible to the younger cohorts and, hopefully, inspire them to make this one of a kind festival bigger and better in the years to come. “

Ramanuj Shastry- Director & Co-Founder, Infectious Advertising

“My best memory of Cannes is from my first trip there in 2003. I was just a wide-eyed, lowly-paid CD on a shoestring allowance in the playground of billionaires. But then rosé tastes the best when you are piss poor. What an insane ride it was! I was blown away by the work, the level of discourse and the non-stop partying. It was a zero pressure trip - no CCO-giri, no jury-giri. I had too much fun, made lots of new friends, met new gods and remember coming back totally inspired. Lovely memories.“

Raghu Bhat, Founder & Copywriter, Scarecrow M&C Saatchi

"It was 2002,  my first time in Cannes. We were staying at a boutique hotel. There were guys from JWT Istanbul also living in the same hotel. We used to meet every morning in the breakfast area and became friends quickly. We discovered that we had a lot in common. For example, hatred for bread. Remember the guy saying, looking at the tables piled with bread - 'The Yeast is the one doing all the work, what has the chef done? Indian and Turkish breakfasts are the best!'  And we both loved football. The 2002 World Cup was also going on at the same time and Turkey was doing great. After Turkey beat South Korea to come third, the guys made their office head hire a large open car and went up and down the streets of Cannes, carrying a Turkish flag, screaming their heads off. I was invited to join them. Turkey became Meri doosri Country for a few magical hours."

PG Aditya, National Creative Director, Dentsu Webchutney.

“I’m not going to lie. Winning in a category won’t feel as good, but losing in a category won’t feel as bad either. If anything, this year will be a test (and a testament, hopefully) to the reputation that the award has built for itself outside the festival. The weight that a Cannes Lion carries through the year is much more than the weight the Cannes Lion festival does for a week. It’s to the festival’s credit. Obviously, one begets the other. And I am, like most others, looking forward to it being a live event again in future. But till then, Lion > Cannes. From my memories at Cannes, one funny incident was showing up a little late at the festival on the day that we got our first win announced. 70% of us missed that which would have been great if we were there."

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