The secret diary of two Cannes virgins

Cannes picPermanent liver damage, probably. Burnt to a crisp, yep. Inspired, absolutely!After less than 24 hours since our first Cannes foray we return back down to earth and reflect on what’s been. We’re both a bit sad it’s over really. Over the last six days we’ve seen a lot. A lot of great. Good. And moments that will scar us forever (witnessing a leopard-clad mother and daughter duo at the Gutter- bar ‘embracing creativity’). Let’s just say we don’t believe a far-fetched story from Cannes exists.

Anyway, first impressions – what surprised us the most was how contained the whole festival is. Don’t get us wrong it’s a huge event with loads going on, but it envelops a relatively small area – effectively one big building along one street. You’re pretty much in the same place for the entire week – the Palais, one of three or four beaches or one of three or four bars. Step a few streets back or head down past the final set of ‘Cannes Lions hotels’ and it’s as if absolutely nothing is going on.

Another thing, it’s amazing how many people you bump into – It’s three degrees of separation not six. Cannes really does attract the biggest names in the industry. It’s like everyone’s there to chat shop and let loose.

It’s an inspiring thing, Cannes Lion Festival. There’s a real buzz about the place – endless conversations about the work. Celebrations on the Charlton terrace. Happy people clutching their lions while trying to order a 10 euro Heineken. And the daytime lectures – we saw some really decent ones – Sir John Hegarty’s view on collaboration. Jared Leto on what makes people creative. And how to cast the right talent told from The Game of Throne writers. There’s a lot of positive energy that you can’t help but feed off. James and I were lucky enough to snag a shortlist for our Tesco Mobile work in the Cyber category and even though we didn’t pick up any metal, we felt great to be part of it all. Some of the winners like ‘Sweetie’ and ‘The Sound of Senna’ were simply outstanding! Talk about another level.

But to truly grasp the extent of the Cannes Lions you really have to go out and experience it. There’s absolutely nothing like it. And we’ll certainly be back (providing we’ve managed to recover by next year). We’ve been blown away by the talent that it attracts – not just on stage but through every single person you meet on the street, in the bars and on the beaches. They make you proud to be in the industry, and if you can’t get inspired from them then you’re probably in the wrong job. Everyone has their own approach to creativity, their own story to tell. Just knowing that there are like-minded creative souls in every corner of the world is invigorating, and to be able to have a platform where you can interact with them in one place is so important. It doesn’t matter whether that’s during a talk, at a sponsor event or just in the Gutter Bar. The festival is great for the industry and it was a privilege to be a part of it.

James Greening and James Fernandes are a senior creative team at Jam