How to hack Cannes Lions

Posted : 2017-05-22 / by stunnyslove


Alright… I’m not talking about the virtual hacking of the festival but about the know-how of enjoying it to the fullest… without spending a fortune. (Yeah, lucky you if your company is willing to pay for your trip and entrance fee.)


First of all, Cannes is the largest creative festival of the world, where everyone wants to put in an appearance a.ka. where massive attention-seeking is going on. All the global big shots are present while there are more and more visitors coming from the Far East, as well. This is all about parade, festival and luxury – although a bit paradoxical as most brands stress the role of purpose, value and responsibility. (It would be cool, for example, if the Marketing Director of Airbnb Jonathan Mildenhall would stay in an Airbnb apartment during the festival.) So Cannes is anything but the role model of all these nice qualities above. Or am I mistaken?


How to get there & where to stay:

Low budget airlines have direct flights to Nice from almost all the largest European cities. Your weekly outfit can be fitted into one hand luggage so it won’t cost too much, either. Accommodation? Airbnb is the only choice or you can try the services of If you travel alone or with a couple of others, Antibes or Juan-les-Pins could be a right place to stay overnight. There are frequent service lines, the buses are clean and there is a ticket variation for 10 EUR.



Many journalists who show up in a press conference only to grab something to eat are a real pain in the back. You should go there for networking. Almost every brand and exhibitor provides free snacks during the day. (The Economist already in the morning, Facebook around noon…) You can use these opportunities to chit-chat with other creatives, heads or even clients: food is always a good starter for a small talk. Occasionally, you can bump into real local rarities: last year, for example, we had an amazing time with an old lady from Provence who served home-made cheese, ham, bread and olive oil… (After this, I immediately started to search for holiday opportunities in Provence.)


Food for thought

The festival is full of amazing lecturers, no doubt. (Last year, I missed Iggy Popp, unfortunately.) Still, there are certain presentations that are almost impossible to attend. For example, Piers Morgan had a speech in a VIP party of a luxury liner. Yet, I would say that it doesn’t matter what your expertise is, you will be able to find fantastic speakers everywhere. As I am mainly interested in PR, last year I visited the House of PR by ICCO, PR Week Tent, UN SDG Panel Discussion, Spotify Q&A and “Wake up with The Economist”. These are all free, full of mind-blowing thoughts, hilarious comments (mostly inspired by fancy cocktails) and great networking opportunities. Also, there are a couple of large PR agencies who invite professionals to catch a glimpse in their universe.


As for the fun…

Each brand gives an account of its novelties (last year’s top hit was undoubtedly VR). If you scan through the agenda well, you will find some interesting discussions in the top suite of many hotels.  


This festival is a playground for big boys and big girls: still, it is a golden opportunity for everyone else to network, to get inspired and to post some amazing shots of the French Riviera. Of course, Cannes is much more than that if you can keep your fingers crossed for your entries or if you can participate in the conference. I just wanna point out: a journey like this begins with a single step.