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Disruption in More Ways Than One

Day three of my Cannes experience raised some unexpected encounters… more fun, creativity and inspiration – and a little disruption of the not so inspiring kind.

Last night’s Microsoft party was a huge hit with queues for access until near closing time and a hit turn from US band Walk the Moon. Google hosted special guests at Tom Kitchen’s table once again and of course MailOnline continued their star-studded streak with appearances on their yacht from Chrissy Teigen and Kylie Jenner. WPP hosted Keith Weed and Unilever teams at the Mindshare Villa, and took a celebratory look at a year of shining creative work and success with Dove and Sunsilk and other campaigns; and Vice announced the launch of the inspired and defiant women’s news channel Broadly.com

Indie band Walk the Moon played at the Microsoft party

Indie band Walk the Moon played at the Microsoft party

For those without the right wristbands there were numerous and varied street performers to be found in the back streets. Musicians, capoeira dancers and street hawkers added to the eclectic and buzzing atmosphere of the festival.

There’s no doubt that the other topic of conversation amongst Lions this morning was the effects of the union strike action taken by taxi drivers in Cannes in protest at Uber. Buses are the only option, but gridlock at the airport is making it impossible to check-in on time and only those determined enough to get out and walk the last 10 minutes from the access road are making their flights. For those of us with professional support from excellent ground agents, like the wonderful team at Phenix, be-good have been able to look after VIPs and maintain event programmes.

The long term effects of this disruption and other local disputes may be further reaching than the taxi drivers and the local authorities understand. The mayor himself is said to be disappointed with how this reflects on business in his region. With issues of capacity, regulations along the Croisette and high prices in Cannes putting increasing pressure on event companies, there is always the threat that Lions may look for pastures new. The busy bars and small venues in the backstreets behind the 5-star hotels would certainly feel the brunt of such changes keenly. Market forces apply to even the most established events in the international calendar.

BUT we simply mustn’t allow this sideshow to detract from the wealth of work celebrated this week and the wonderful contributions made by brands, agencies and guests to another fabulous festival of creativity!

Activation and Participation at the Lions

A calmer sea and welcome cool breeze greeted early risers in Cannes this morning. The Lions are no doubt enjoying morning coffee whilst reflecting on the many stunning events hosted in Cannes last night.
Among the highlights were appearances by Sting who serenaded special guests of the MailOnline on its stunning boat and presumably waved to Pharrell next door! Oh and Havas Café enjoyed an unexpected visit from vine star Dallas Cameron and WPPStream hosted their friends at a beach party.
During the day, WPP Stream island welcomed guests after a hair-raising surf trip through high wind and choppy waters. Some 100 special guests braved the waves to join Sir Martin Sorrell on his exclusive island for conversations with global CEOs and brands about the future of digital and the world of marketing and business with presentations from Matt Brittin, Alex Da Kid, Dick Costolo and Jeff Weiner among others.
The view from WPP Stream Island. Awesome!

The view from WPP Stream Island. Awesome!

Today there are some great experiences on offer for those braving the sunshine away from the stunning programme in the Palais. Aside from the hospitality and parties in the various hotels and cabanas along the strip, some are making their presence more felt with some great activations.
Google and Eurosport
Participation is the order of day. There is the Eurosport soccer tournament for example. Google are stealing the show again with their beach club content. Today they will host the  internationally acclaimed hiphop dancers Les Twins for dance lessons. They also have great interactive fun with Androidify yourself and SlowMo yourself with Gavin and Dan. There is a virtual tour of Abbey Road for music fans and there’s a cooking lesson from Jamie Oliver too!
Facebook will offer more Hacktivations and Hack experiences in the Hacker Square and some rather lovely wine tasting sessions too. The high winds along the coast launched the excellent contingency plans of Phenix to transport their delegates to St Tropez overland rather than on the yacht as planned.
And of course today, be good is producing an afternoon of fascinating content on the island for YouTubeCreate and Google. We are thrilled to be able to share  creative ideas in such an inspiring space.
YouTube Create 2015

YouTube Create 2015

Which brings us to tonight… there is more exciting action from brands and agencies stamping their presence on the 62nd Lions event. Parties are taking place on the Tumblr boat, the Xaxis Strangelove boat and Unilever and Adobe will host their classic cocktail parties. Jamie Cullum is gracing the stage at Havas Café at 6pm. Microsoft are having their big party tonight – more scoop on that tomorrow
 Lots for people to share and enjoy!
Sarah Baldock is CEO and founder of be-good and will be blogging live from Cannes Lions this week. Read her first blog from Cannes Lions here.

The personal experience comes out on top at Cannes

In a crowd of thousands, it’s still the personal experience that comes out on top, says Sarah Baldock, CEO and founder of be-good, who will be blogging live from Cannes Lions this week for Event.WPP Flags

So here we are in Cannes for the Lions 2015 and another star studded WPPStream. Every year at Cannes the challenge is the same – brands vie for visibility and attention on the baking sands and bustling thoroughfare of the Croisette. And it ain’t easy.  The fringe is where it is at – after all who wants to come to the French Riviera and spend the day sitting in raked seating in a dark auditorium! The awards and the keynotes are accompanied by a glorious freeform cocktail of all manner of experiences outside in the sun and in the warm evening air.

On the WPP Stream Island, we opened with creator of Mad Men, Matthew Weiner, in conversation with Sir Martin Sorrell – they discussed the giants of advertising and the changing landscape for these giants. He believes that ads don’t shape culture, they reflect it, and with this in mind we have ample resource for more creative events at Cannes. With this crowd of participants we can surely create some memorable and meaningful experiences to reflect their work. As Matthew also noted, TV ads can be irritating, especially if they just increase their volume in a effort to grab our attention, but really good, creative work will always sing out over the noise and get a standing ovation.

Sir Martin

Fringe events at Cannes are where the big money is spent and where this international and savvy crowd really want to head. The competition for their attention is hot and brands are required to carve space out of a limited and costly destination. Big budget beachfront venues for Microsoft and Google change and grow each year and the need for enjoyable and convivial spaces is never ending.

For most of the people who come here each year and get stuck in to the mayhem, the real value is found in the conversations and the connections they make. The personal experiences make the trip and the time away from the office worth something. These encounters spark learning and the sharing of creative inspiration.

So perhaps we can box clever, think about curating innovative and inspiring personal experiences that leave people talking about your brand, rather than fighting for square footage and building bigger spaces?

Sarah Baldock is CEO and founder of be-good and will be blogging live from Cannes Lions this week.

Sarah Baldock CEO be good events

Live from Cannes Lions 2015

Event will be blogging live from Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2015. Watch this space for the best brand activations from the event…