This week, Henry Daglish, managing director of Arena, parties in the Gutter Bar, celebrates a Grand Prix Outdoor triumph and fails to pap Patrick Stewart, yes it's tales from Cannes.
Having just hosted an event, 'Growing Brands in the Digital Age', with Nicholas Lovell (who gave an awesome presentation on The Curve), Monday is about following up with clients and prospects.
The big job now is collating all of the content and discussing our research strategy. In the afternoon, Steve Hyde and I meet to discuss a new senior hire we’re making. Then off home to pack the linen and short sleeves (and an umbrella as the gloomy forecasts advise).
A taxi picks me up and I arrive at Gatwick – definitely too early for anything but a strong black coffee. The 9.15am plane to Nice could have been co-chartered by Havas, Omnicom and WPP, and is stuffed full of the world of advertising. I think to myself that if we disappear, there might well be a few rudderless media, creative agencies and media owners around (or maybe grateful, one of the two).
Make it to the Croisette in time for lunch in the sunshine with Jason Tally and Krane Jeffrey from Yahoo – there are much worse ways to kick of Cannes.
Let's be clear – this isn't a normal working week, it's Cannes week. So, much as I'd love to say my meetings usually take place in the sunshine with a bottle of rosé on ice, that's only in the Riviera.
I pop into the Havas Cafe for the first of many visits. It's an oasis of calm and cool and I'm pleased to see we've got a great venue in a perfect location on the Croisette. Love the white theme and the Ibiza chill-out tunes (at least I guess that's still what they play over there, it's been a while).
The noise levels go up a few decibels by the evening as we host drinks with rest of the Arena management team and some friends from the industry. The theme is Brazilian – no bikinis in sight, but football (Desailly shares his World Cup predictions) a band from Rio and carnival dancers. Not to mention our green-and-yellow branded panamas (we've clearly gone all out).
It's great to see everyone getting into the spirit of things – I leave Pedro Avery (Peds) samba-ing down the Croisette as I head off to drinks with Bruce Daisley and Dara Nasr from Twitter. We end up at the Gutter Bar (where else?) surrounded by the old Arena/BLM crew – Dan Clays, Pippa Glucklich and Josh Krichefski. Good times.
Slightly the worse for wear, we bid au revoir to the rest of the Arena management team. It's just me and Pedro from now on in. The morning in the Havas Cafe is relatively relaxed (with even stronger black coffee) and a good time to catch up on the winning work from the Media Lions the day before.
With more category crossover than ever before I'm pleased to see that innovation, creativity and effectiveness still link the winners – we need to live up to our' Now, Next and Beyond' mantra more than ever.
Lunch is with the lovely Natasha Murray. We say it every time – we don't catch up often enough, so there's lots to talk about. It's great to have a friend as my opposite in Havas Media and we're going to be working even more closely together as we get closer to becoming the complete Havas Village in the UK. We raise a glass to exciting times, which will come about before we know it.
I also learn a new phrase – not French, sadly. A "top to top" is apparently a meeting between senior people. Make a mental note to try and drop that into conversation with American clients.
Next stop, the roof terrace of the Radisson Blue for a Guardian dinner with a view. Alan Rusbridger introduces Ralph Fiennes and he gives an enlightening talk on how he's more than happy to play the baddie in films (whilst being incredibly personable in the flesh).
I catch up with M2M's Alistair MacCallum and we chat about innovation, inspiration, the idea of getting grads to experience Cannes and our chances in the World Cup. Slim to nothing.
Then off to watch Calvin Harris at the Microsoft party (where I realise for the first time that he's actually a DJ and not a singer). I can't help but think he might have played to younger and cooler crowds than us lot. But he was still a class act.
This is a tough week.
The AAR kindly treat us to breakfast in their "townhouse" in one of the backstreets as I leave the Croisette for the first time this week. In what's a great session, Peds and I meet our first brand voice coach – an interesting concept, all about how you can coach your voice to win people over. Apparently 80% of new business pitches are successful if you get the client to talk more than you do. (I think we all might have some learning to do there!)
Frank Bryant from Talon and I grab lunch together – great to hear about what's going on in their world and we discuss the Havas Group triumph in Outdoor (a Grand Prix for Coke). Then it's a meeting with the CEO of Work Club – Paddy Griffith.
The latest addition to the Havas family is also run by talented, down-t- earth folk and we haven't wasted any time tapping into their expertise working on a joint project for one of our clients.
I spend a large chunk of the evening with Gideon Spanier from the ES (really good bloke and always on the button with his analyses). Most astute comment: 'I can't help but think that most of the people that are out here are looking for their next job!' Having met a host of headhunters in the Riviera this year, I'd say he was spot on.
The Rudimental gig courtesy of Google made sure we finished Cannes the way we started. Another band that I've learnt to know – another amazing performance.
I spot Patrick Stewart in the airport and I fail appallingly at trying to take a subtle picture of him for Campaign's editor Claire Beale. As my phone then dies for the 50th time this week, I board a plane with a passenger make up not dissimilar to the one on the way out.
Although I might suggest that a lot of us may have terminated a few brain cells over the last few days.
I always come away from Cannes with new ideas, new ways of working and even a few new phrases, but the nicest thing is a reminder that the industry within which we all work remains stuffed full of great people and great talent.
Time to pop in the headphones and channel the Havas Cafe chill-out vibe. The weekend ahead will be all about recharging in time for my weekly "top to top" with Peds on Monday.
Favourite media: outdoor
My biggest inspiration: Probably my father - he's just sailed across the Bay of Biscay aged 79
Dream job: captain of a Super Yacht
Not a lot of people know this about me... I have a slight fixation on radio-controlled aircraft and have owned various models over the years thanks to my inability to fly them properly – an expensive hobby.
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