What happens in Cannes stays on Facebook


Cannes was nearly back to capacity this year. It felt like there were 30% more people than in 2009. Last year’s recession reshaped the nature of everyone’s conversations; people had to justify their trip and talk more shop, which was a big change from the cocktail-only conversations of years past. Everyone was in a really good mood, talked only of work, and didn’t mention the recession. We even met quite a few Cannes virgins this year. My favorite quote was, “I finally get this place. You get five minutes with people you could never meet back at home, and five minutes is all you need.”

Let’s meet at the Butter Gar

Yahoo branded the Gutter Bar this year. It’s the first time anyone asked to sponsor the establishment. People complained about the big purple Yahoo sign above the bar, and added that it didn’t make sense for given crowd. On the other hand, the sponsorship apparently cost Yahoo next to nothing, and you couldn’t miss the sign.

Time is a funny thing in Cannes. “Just 15 minutes” means two to three hours. Meeting times are fluid. 10:00 a.m. appointments are canceled or move to 2:00 p.m. The first meal of the day happens between two in the afternoon and eight o’clock at night. The “evening” usually has three parts: the parties, the Carlton and the Gutter Bar. Parties don’t get going until midnight, because dinner service in Old Town is sloooowwww. The Carlton is hopping at 2:00 a.m. and shuts down at three o’clock. The Gutter Bar is packed from three to six o’clock in the morning. Going home early means before sunrise, which is at 5:15 a.m.

Yes, work really does occur between 2:00 and 5:00 a.m. Cannes is much more efficient than conferences in Vegas, New York or Los Angeles because everyone wants to meet at the same few places. We meet more L.A. clients at the Carlton Terrace in one week than we do in three months back home. It’s also helpful to run into the same people over and over again to build instant camaraderie. The hardest part is remembering everyone’s name, which becomes more embarrassing after each formal introduction. Foursquare needs to invent an augmented reality name-tag beacon.

By Lindsey Jones

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