What’s On

Noorings @Cannes: Where’s the party tonight

Technically, it is day two of the festival but really, most delegates come in only by the Sunday night, or even Monday, making it the first proper day of the Festival. Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity has just about begun and yet the party, or the string of parties, have kicked off, and how. A fellow journalist casually asked me ‘which parties are you attending tonight’. The appropriate answer should have been: M&M Global, FCB, bla bla bla, bla bla bla or even finding a clever way of asking in return, ‘which parties are you attending’. But I did the not-so-clever, and may be even the inappropriate, thing of saying – none at all.

Frankly, in that moment, I did not even think it was not the right reply – it was the truth after all. Cannes Lions is not a vacation – it is a significant amount of work if one has to take advantage of the platform that Festival offers. During the day, the chase is from Palais session halls to the different cabanas along the beach that have some or the other event happening to the hotels on the croisette for meetings and then to the press centre to vigorously file the stories. For some of us, when the ad execs are out partying, the journalists are in all likelihood busy filing stories. Once deadlines are out of the way, the preparation for the next day begins – the cycle repeats through the week.

Somewhere in that, the need to take time out for parties, is lost. Make no mistake: there is a ‘need’ to take time out for these parties. Despite all the arguments one can make around not a good enough networking opportunity, only booze, rose and banter, vacationing on company money and so on, there is a reason why the number of parties have increased over the years – both in number and stature.

For journalists, the importance of a journalist can be gauged by the parties you are invited to…

For instance:
You are not invited to the Time Warner party!? You must not be working with the ‘right’ publication in your country…
You are not invited to the Unilever party!? You are yet to climb up the food chain?
You are not invited to the Microsoft party!? You are not working in the right country…
You are not invited to the Times of India party!? We are to ascertain you are really a journalist…
You are not invited to the JWT party!? Are you sure Cannes Lions is for you, darling?

For an agency exec, the importance you hold in your company can be determined by whether you can invite someone to the party, and if you can, how many can you invite, better test still – can you invite someone from a competing agency…

For the agency, did your clients bother to make it to the party, did your own team stay at your party or ended up at another supposedly cooler do.

Cannes Lions is also seeing media and technology companies host lavish events and the barometer for them is even tougher – if you are spending in Euros, the return has to be more visible than just music, lights and insane crowd.

Clearly, it is no party to throw a party at Cannes Lions, and which sensible journalist will miss the golden chance to find the big guns drunk and spill the scoops. So, if you don’t have enough parties on your agenda while at Cannes Lions, you are missing out on something significant.

Noor Fathima Warsia

A veteran journalist in the Indian marketing, media and advertising fraternity, Noor Fathima Warsia took on the role of Group Editor -– APAC for Digital Market Asia in May 2013. Noor has focussed on tracking trends and developments in the Indian media industry.