Coming back to Cannes Lions after a two-year hiatus feels great. There is a sense of familiarity, like seeing an old friend again who hasn’t changed that much; perhaps got fitter and younger but still the same and very welcoming.
After a 15 hour plus flight and then a bus from Hong Kong to Cannes, I check into the Best Western Cannes Riviera after greeting my Cheil China colleagues (which now also includes Cheil OpenTide, the digital arm of the agency) at the Nice airport – all 11 of them. Totally, there are a dozen of us from China and HK. We are all staying at different apartments and hotels, so it took a while to get settled. That being said, the apartments are nice – more spacious and close to the Palais.
After checking in late afternoon, there’s no time to attend any seminars but I do go to the Palais for a quick walk-through and make a stop at the Cannes Lions Press room to say hello to a few staff at the Lions Daily News desk. Julian Newby, the editor, was not around then but I did run into Jerry Odlin, the man about town. We exchange greetings and then I head off to see all the exhibition booths inside the Palais. The last time I attended Cannes Lions, there weren’t many and the way these booths have been set up are fantastic – namely, the Samsung Galaxy5 space! (I’m not just saying that because I work for Cheil! Seriously, it’s amazing to see Samsung take up more ‘space’ at Cannes Lions this year.
Our seminar, which will be on Monday, will have Daniele Fiancada and YoungHee Lee (Samsung Electronic Executive VP on stage). Samsung also has Dong-hoon Chang as head of jury in the Product category. I was still at the Samsung Galaxy 5 booth, when I am tapped on the shoulder by Soomee Moon, Head of Global PR at Cheil. I haven’t seen her for eons, so we get chatting immediately…
After a few more such catch ups, I head to Le Petit Paris – a small, simple little bistro when it starts to rain heavily. Every time I am in Cannes, I have to eat there – they have a fantastic duck breast. I now really feel I am in Cannes…
Cheil OpenTide has two campaigns shortlisted in the Direct category so the agency is eagerly awaiting Day two, when we will know the final fate of these works. Cheil Austria and Poland also have shortlists in Innovation and Promo so we’re off to a pretty good start as a network.
Other than that, today was just a day to warm up for the real action which always starts on Monday.
The CEO of Cheil OpenTide, Brian Nam is one of the jury members in Cyber category – his first time at Cannes Lions judging and I hear he’s missing Korean food with a passion. Good thing there’s Sushi Time Restaurant that serves Korean just a stone’s throw from the Palais. It’s where you’ll also find all the Koreans everyday throughout the week – so if you want to find us, that’s where we’ll be.
I’ll report back tomorrow with more insights, reports on parties, meetings, etc but for now I’m jetlagged and going to watch the soccer match.