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Cannes diaries: First impressions

It is just day one of my arrival here but I have decided to add my voice to the noise being created around Cannes Lions. So here are my first impressions..

Haven for networkers
This is probably an obvious one but Cannes truly is a haven for networking. The buzz started even before I landed – at Zurich International. This is where I saw Piyush Pandey. The Indian advertising legend was on the same flight to Nice. But I could not bring myself to say hello and make small talk. It was only after I entered the arrival hall that I realised that there were celebrity and senior executives all around. I recognised a lot of names from Asia Pacific from the placards placed there. Since then I have literally bumped into an industry acquaintance once every five minutes. “So like us to meet at Cannes every year,” said one.

Content Content Content
Wherever you go there is something to learn. The pavilions are a perfect way to start my Cannes journey. Each of the spaces whether its Facebook‘s or Google‘s has interesting sessions lined up. If you don’t attend the sessions at Palais you can still learn a lot from the sessions at these places. I especially enjoyed looking at the way these have been designed and their interesting activation to engage visitors. Whether it’s digital walls or self designed giveaways there is no dearth of innovative ideas. Every big advertising media brand has its own sessions.

Community spirit
There is a strange camaraderie that takes over when you chat with strangers. If I see someone wearing a badge I feel pretty confident talking to them. It’s been a day but I have interacted with a lot of people from different markets and the response from most has been fairly warm.

Fitness, food and drinks
There is no way you can avoid walking around in Cannes which more than makes up for your evening walk. If you are a fitness buff then the beautiful seaside tracks will tempt you to make sometime for a run. It doesn’t help that Google has sessions like Coffee and Cardio or Dance Lessons with Les Twins to make sure you are doing a plenty of moving.

To counteract the benefits there are happy hours literally everywhere. I couldn’t find a booth where there wasn’t drinks being served after six so in addition to being a networking haven it wouldn’t be misplaced to call it a drinking haven.

Parties galore
Well the less said about the parties the better. Nearly everyone I met was going to a party that I was not. Which makes me wonder exactly how many parties are going around the town? And how does one else get invited to these? I am going to find out today.

Asiya Bakht

Asiya Bakht, Director of Marketing Communications at Havas Media Group Asia Pacific, is a communications professional with more than 15 years of experience in marketing, PR, social media and journalism. She took on the role of Director of Marketing Communications for Havas Media Group APAC in 2010 and is responsible for PR and marketing initiatives for all its flagship and specialist brands across 18 markets in the region. She also supports regional new business projects through targeted communication. Her mandate is to work with industry stakeholders to communicate the vision and positioning of the agency and raise its profile and visibility. She is also responsible for internal communications and played a critical role in roll out of the rebranding launched by the group last year. Currently based in Singapore, Asiya is passionate about digital marketing with a focus on mobile, social media and content marketing. Prior to joining Havas Media Group, Asiya spent more than a decade as a print and broadcast journalist with stints at ANI- Reuters, Television Asia and Campaign Asia.