The Ultimate Cannes Lions Festival Agency Survival Guide
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The Ultimate Cannes Lions Festival Agency Survival Guide

Neve Fear-Smith
Neve Fear-Smith

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the creative industry’s hottest event where the brightest minds in communications and advertising come together to celebrate innovation and excellence.

For brand marketers, it's an unparalleled opportunity to immerse yourself in the latest trends, build valuable connections, and gain inspiration during a time when creativity and innovation are paramount. 

The 5-day festival runs from Mon, 17 Jun 2024 – Fri, 21 Jun 2024 at Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France, and will welcome upwards of 15,000 attendees from across the globe. With so much going on, we’re here to provide you with the dos, and don’ts and our best advice for making the most out of your time in Cannes. 

Sponsors and activations

Incredible activations will line the beaches of Cannes during the festival. The largest social platforms including Meta, Pinterest, and TikTok are renowned for great interactive activations. 

This year, Escape: The Beach Takeover hosted by Digital Voices on 18th June will allow you to enjoy massages and mingling by day, and cocktails and connections by night! This is the perfect place to be if you want to chat about Influencer Marketing with industry experts.  

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Many companies take over yachts in the harbour to host panels, lunches and parties at night, but are often invite-only! However you may be able to squeeze onto the guest list on the night! 

Where to connect 

A lot of the festival excitement takes place over lunch or in the evening, meaning that between 10-11.30am and 3.30-5.30pm you will likely find yourself with some downtime.  

This time however can be extremely fruitful if you know where to go! The Little Black Book and Friends Beach is perfectly positioned on La Croisette and offers space to relax, take calls, or meet new people. We will be here all week, so swing by and say hi!

Another way to connect with as many people as possible is to be spontaneous! If you spot an activation that looks exciting or hear about a must-attend party, accept as many invites as possible as you never know who you might meet… 

What to eat

Ensuring you’re fuelled during the whirlwind that is Cannes Lions is essential! Formal lunch and dinner reservations are often booked well in advance, so it’s important to come prepared. 

Restaurants such as La Guirete and Baoli have great party atmospheres, whereas you can have a relaxing bowl of pasta dish at Bobo Bistro or a traditional French dinner at Chez Vincent et Nicolas.  

The McDonald's line is also extremely busy late at night! 

We recommend bringing some snacks that you can keep in your accommodation and throw into your bag for a quick energy boost throughout the day, especially if you have dietary requirements. Even the French will admit that vegan food isn’t a hot commodity!

Lots of activations will provide snacks and novelty treats – like the YouTube-branded ice cream we enjoyed last year! At our LBB & Friends beach takeover on 18th June, we will be serving up canapés to pair with a couple of rosés… 

Places to drink 

Cannes is the place to party, and if one thing’s for sure, a drink will always be up for grabs. You can expect to fill your boots at the huge parties and activations around the festival. The evening events are centered around Amazon Port, the Spotify party, and the Massive Music party, so try to gain an invite there if you can! 

If you want to find a bar to go for a drink in the evening, the Carlton Cannes is a popular choice!

Top tip: If you do enjoy indulging in a local rosé or complementary cocktail, don’t get carried away during the day. Cannes comes alive at night, so the opportunity to connect with new people continues into the early hours. 

What to wear 

Don’t be afraid to get glam in Cannes! Following the Cannes Film Festival, there is no such thing as ‘too much’ during your time on the French Riviera. 

However, during the day, comfort is key. From previous experience, we’ve made the mistake of wearing too many dark pieces and sweltering in the sun, so keep it light and moveable. Linen is in!

As well as choosing the right clothing, carry a bag that allows you to pack essentials. SPF and blister plasters are a must! 

Tips and tricks

From our experience, which we are excited to build on this year, we’ve pulled together some of our tips and tricks that will make your time in Cannes smoother:

  • Don't over plan or over schedule: Being spontaneous and open to opportunities to chat with people you haven’t pre-booked meetings could be the start of the next big thing for your company. 
  • Take note: Cannes can be a bit of a whirlwind, but it’s also one of the hottest opportunities in the creative industry to get ahead of trends. Whenever you think ‘I must remember what they said on that panel’ or ‘I must remember to connect with that person on LinkedIn’ take note immediately. This will make your job a lot easier when reflecting and planning post Cannes.
  • A ticket isn’t essential: If you have the budget to buy a ticket to the official Cannes Lions festival then go ahead, but it certainly isn’t essential. There are plenty of other events, panels, and activations to enjoy. 

The countdown to Cannes is officially on! Will we see you there? Drop us an email if you’re attending in 2024. 

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