What was I doing in Cannes?
Let me just start by saying that it is pronounced as “Kahn", not “Ka Nes”, you are welcome. Now you wouldn’t make that same embarrassing mistake when you talk to someone about Cannes, just like I once did.
Cannes is well-known for the film festival that is held annually and recently many social influencers were invited to attend it too, and I must say that the red carpet outside the Palais is a tourist attraction itself. It is located as the south of France, Nice, along the French Riveria, which I am obsessed about and dreamt of going.
So… what was I doing in Cannes?
While I was in Seoul for my holiday, I came across a competition by WE Communications, a global independent PR agency’s posting that they were looking for student #PurposeMakers, which led me to apply for it. I did 2 write ups on brand purpose and filmed a video while my Airbnb was drilling as if the apartment was going to collapse. I had to retake and edit so many parts out because of the noise disruption, but thank to video editors, it all turned out well.
There I got my ticket to the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
The festival celebrates creativity in communication and many awards are given out throughout the week to agencies. At the festival, there were so many PR, advertising and communication agencies and I have to say what happened at the beach was amazing. It was chill but so enjoyable. WE Communications invited me and two fellow participants, Andreea from London and Kan from Seattle to the gameshow as my rivals (haha). We stayed together in a huge Airbnb .
Watch my Airbnb room tour!
My daily route to the fringe and festival.
My short five days here felt like five weeks, it was so packed because the things to check out at the festival are endless. The whole Cannes just turned into a creative landscape to showcase different brand’s works and interesting pop-up experiences to visitors.
Along the La Croisette, basically the beautiful shore that connects the beach and the city, there were many private beaches taken over by brands to host a meeting place for clients and some of them were opened for public to visit. Thankfully, with my pass I got to check them out!
My most memorable beach would be the Pinterest’s, filled with colour and shapes. The concept of it was a bespoke cocktail bar, where you go through 3 stations and get your senses palette tested, discover what is your favourite and the bartender will make a special drink based on your taste.
Pinterest showcased the different colour trends in some of the countries, pulled from their backend data. Apparently blue was the most popular colour in the United States.
The #GoogleBeach was incredible as well, I mean after all so many free services were provided inside! I got a free custom logo Google cap, lots of drinks and the most amazing experience, the free massage at the “Unplug Lounge” where you disconnect yourself from your mobile devices and appreciate life, get some juice for your phone while you receive the massage. I totally needed it after a 14-hour long journey from Singapore.
Talking about experiential marketing, Google is off the charts. Look at the Pixel Swing that allows you to get your swing GIF taken and sent straight to your Google Photos. Technology is truly life-changing.
The talks mostly were for pass holders only, and let me just put it out there, the cost of the pass is SUPER EXPENSIVE. A complete pass to the festival is €3249. I am very grateful that WE Communications got us a 2-day pass which is already a bomb. I mean, they are the bomb.
I was tasked to takeover WE Communication’s social media channels so I went to a talk titled “The Global Cinema Medium Inspired by Hunger”, and saw how cinema as a medium is able to convey the message of world hunger and create empathy, in return, eradicate hunger a fraction at a time.
Another task was to create a piece of content with the Global COO of WE Communications, Kass Sells, so I figured it would be great if we could check out his friend Jon Cook, CEO of VMLY&R’s talk, titled “Young Lions Week: Advice I’d Give My 20-Something Self”. Essentially, I recognised the need to realise a purpose in what one does.
Watch the interview I did with CEO of VMLY&R and Global COO of WE Communications on IGTV below on advice to youth communicators.
This is the real business, the reason why I was there, for the gameshow! The gameshow is hosted by WE Communications and shockingly I am labelled as a “Speaker” on my pass although I am just a contestant of the game. Oh well, I ain’t complaining. When I applied for the contest, I didn’t know I was going to be a contestant of the gameshow, I bet none of us did. I was even more worried after seeing “Speaker” labelled under my name on the Cannes website because I wasn’t told to prepare anything. Thankfully it really was really just… a… game. I mean just look at @Holly and her dress. Fabulous.
Through the gameshow, I learned a lot new facts and myths. Things that I didn’t even know existed, like there’s a Airbnb for the homeless in Seattle. Super cool isn’t it? Well, I think I was lucky to win the cash prize for the Singapore Cancer Society, and I can’t thank Melissa Waggener Zorkin, Global CEO & Founder of WE Communications more for her generosity. She even raised the prizes for all the other contestants. Everyone is a winner!
We did a re-run of the show the following day at The House of PR with a more intimate crowd. (Right) Us trying to make emoji faces because we were obsessed with Holly’s dress.
I had some spare time throughout the week so I did manage to check out some of the really nice places in Cannes and I will be posting a travel guide soon, so do keep a look out for that. Thank you WE Communications for this wonderful experience!
Thanks for reading, Mel.