Falling forwards in Cannes – By @ethanbennett94

Ethan Bennett

By Ethan Bennett


Falling forwards in Cannes


Why would we go to Cannes? Sure we had a room but the ridiculous cost of travel, not having a festival ticket (£3000) and the time lost on work whilst there surely meant that staying here in London was the right choice.

And that’s the choice we made. Until the final morning.

I spent the early hours of Saturday frantically calling Matt. Claire Beale, Editor In-Chief of Campaign had said we could write for her, and try for a press pass while we were out there.

Now there was no guarantee in any of this, but it was one of those moments where you just think f**k it, the stars seemed to have aligned somehow. We had to go.

We had to stop over in Paris that night. A gruelling 14 hour trip to save money.

Finally, we were in Cannes.

Then came the rejection. So much rejection. With no passes, you can’t go anywhere. Just merely sit by the beach getting burned, carrying a heavy bag watching passers by stroll into the beach parties and the Palais via red carpet.

Cannes wasn’t buying our journalist story. We even tried sending a back log of SCABs as evidence that we’re prolific bloggers with a big following. 

Our first night was the Cannes Opening Galas. A massive beach party with free alcohol and food everywhere. Again, we were rejected on the door. However, like the SAS team that we’re not, we got in on the beach front equipped with nothing but flip flops and undying hunger to make something of this trip.

The small world of advertising, on this beach, getting very pissed while ‘networking’ and trying to save face. Matt said he felt like a Coco Pop in a bowl of Rice Crispies.

The following morning was spent hungover chasing up email after email.

Finally, some luck. After 2 days of solid rejection and fading hopes, connections were made and our Press passes were sorted. There was a moment of disbelief seeing them printed. Trying to remain cool and collected, with the odd cheesy smirk breaking out.

We were in, opportunity taken.

Suddenly people went from turning us away, to welcoming and introducing us to people. The difference was night and day. Beggars to superstars in minutes.

We were quick to catch all the talks we wanted to see. Barton F. Graff gave a cracking talk on collaboration, all sat in a bed with a pre-recorded Skype call. Nils and Iggy’s chat was another highlight, though we weren’t expecting to see so much skin.

Samsung had taken over the basement of the Palais with an incredible display of their VR technology. Including a sick-inducing roller coaster ride on seats that shake and move.

Immersion, a new tech company, showed us how adding vibrations to mobile video content massively enhances the viewing experience.

What I found hilarious was Shutterstock’s Pixels of Fury. A Graphic Design show down where you literally watch designers battle it out for 20 minutes using stock footage. I have to say, our Head of Craft, Ian, would have had his head in his hands.

We managed to get on the Cannes Lions Instagram feed. Funny considering the position we were in just the day before.

All in all, a truly inspiring experience and one that I think more young creatives should try to make while still at school. The expense in travel is made up for by all the free booze, and networking in a relaxed environment like that is priceless.

What I take from it is to never give up, and to approach everyone. We had enough falls that it didn’t matter anymore, and so taking that mindset back to London feels good.

A massive thanks to all who helped us gain entry, and a big shout-out to the Cannes staff who really sorted us out while we were there.

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