Sparrow’s Nest: Making the trip to Cannes Lions 2023 – was it worth it?

Cannes Lions

How to get the most out of the Festival of Creativity and keep a lid on costs

Over the last few weeks, I have been reflecting on my Cannes Lions 2023 experience, and heaps of people have asked for the top themes and asked the vital question, was it worth it? That is a great question as it makes you really examine the positive outcomes balanced with the time spent and the cost investment.

My answer … a resounding YES! However, let us explore the reasons why:

The work – spending time in the basement of the Palais reviewing the work, plus the excellent case studies presented on the stages all over Cannes, then at the Media Awards where for two hours we saw the best work in the world is very rewarding and inspiring.

Learning – I feel as though I have a more informed perspective on AI and how it will have an impact on our industry. Plus, important topics such as effectiveness/ROI, sustainability, diversity, and purpose were on the agenda and you heard different points of view.

Global CMOs were back in force and as well as the usual FMCG clients such as P&G, Unilever, Coke, Macca’s, etc This year Mastercard had a villa, big pharma was out in force plus the global marketing teams all came together for possibly the first time post-COVID.

Networking and reengaging with a global adverting community was also a highlight. When you have been in the business for 50 years you are going to run into some treasured clients and ex-colleagues.

The big Holding Companies’ presence was powerful e.g., GroupM Rooftop at the Martinez, WPP Beach, Dentsu on the Beach, Omnicom Cove & Havas Café.

Mediaweek's Greg 'Sparrow' Graham in Cannes

Mediaweek’s Greg ‘Sparrow’ Graham in Cannes

Cannes can be really expensive (the cheapest room at the Carlton Hotel is 1,310 euro) and those glasses of rose on the terrace don’t come cheap. However, if you plan ahead and be smart with both accommodation and flights you can keep costs down and ensure it’s cost-effective.

As an example, I have stayed in the same small studio for the last few visits, go to the Casino Supermarche up the road, and am careful about any expenses. Unfortunately, I also go the long way around with this year’s flight connecting in Singapore and the UK, however, it was a more affordable airfare versus direct. It is a trade-off – you can travel to Cannes and not break the bank if you plan a fair way out.

The 70th Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity felt reenergised and refocused and the global CMO leaders were embracing the changes. The passion, energy, and creativity were thriving and the Palais/Croisette was buzzing with inspiration and excitement! Happy birthday Cannes Lions and welcome back.

Read more Sparrow’s Nest columns here.

Greg encourages Sparrow’s Nest reader feedback and topic ideas. Contact the Birdman via [email protected]. The more challenging and the tougher the better!

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