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THE HUNNA - Weblog 10

THE HUNNA: Some exciting Friday viewing for you from THE HUNNA who have just debuted their new video ‘Bonfire’... » read more

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DawBell at Cannes Lions 2016 - The ultimate networking party. - Weblog 10

Written by Rich Dawes, Managing Director, DawBellFor anyone who’s ever been to Cannes in the middle of June for the Global Advertising, Marketing, PR (and now Entertainment) Awards it’s a sight to be seen…Multi-million pound yachts stretch along the main ‘Palais Marina’ as far as the eye can see, jostling to attract the most important people in the creative industry. The weather is always incredible. A little like the dry heat you get in LA and sits somewhere between about 24 and 29 degrees. Pure bliss. The transition from London business life made all the more welcome given that it was hammering down with rain when we left on Monday morning!This year the most talked about installations were the News UK and Daily Mail yacht parties who only had one boat between them (Nick Candy’s super yacht - that dwarfed both) stopping them from starting an all out pirate style face off. Entertainment took centre stage this year with performances from our very own Craig David as well as Jess Glynne and Jason Derulo on the Mail boat and a show stopping performance from Take That as the sun went down, followed by an epic set from Fatboy Slim for News UK. This was my primary reason for being in Cannes - I was chaperoning our client Gary Barlow across the festival as he hosted several talks before joining band mates Mark and Howard to perform on the Wednesday night.The first night is all about getting your bearings… We started off on Monday dropping Mr Barlow off at the Daily Mail for a dinner with Piers Morgan and his fellow execs as we perused the backstreets off Blvd De La Croisette for some local cuisine. We ended up at ‘Bobo’ at about 6.45pm, just before the mad rush started. The food was incredible - Burrata for starter, which we couldn’t get enough of, followed by the cod and then a velvety tiramisu. All the while enjoying the Cannes drink of choice - Rosé de Provence! Anyone who comes back from The Lions always professes if they bled they’d bleed rosé, so when in Cannes!We then popped along to Mediacom’s space on the rooftop of the Hôtel Martinez. Gary Barlow was doing a fireside chat the following day with the President of Universal Music’s Globe - Mr Marc Robinson about how he developed as an artist, cultivating creativity and how artists and brands can collaborate better together. This was a epic setting for our first night, with the England match in full swing on big screens across the inside and outside of this huge penthouse suite. The standard Cannes Lions Festival complimentary bar sat with its back to the incredible Costa Azul which made for the perfect vista while waiting for your drink to be mixed.  We watched the first half here and then went down to Dentsu Aegis to meet Dani Filer and her team who were exceptionally gracious hosts while we watched the second half of the game. The relief of a non-loss at full time then spurred us into at least another 90 mins of fun with the Dentsu crew.Waking up with a mild hangover on Tuesday for a conference call was fairly unwelcome, especially as the sun was nowhere to be seen! By late morning however the clouds had been banished for the trademark blue sky and we were literally back in business. A handful of new business meetings, introductions and exchanges in the shade before getting back to the Mediacom rooftop for Gary’s talk to an intimate and engaging audience. A quick lunch and some strategy discussion about the year ahead, then whisked off to the CNBC boat for another audience with GB. Word started to get around that Mr Barlow was in town and offers started to flood in with invites for half a dozen more chats. Food for thought for next year but the day had run away with us and we were now heading to the hills for dinner.The restaurant we went to on that Tuesday night was one of the best I’ve ever experienced. Les Terrailers - in Biot. This old colonial building was set on the side of a hill. Everyone eats outside on a terrace that has a signature vine laden pergola surrounded by gorgeous olive trees. It was magical and the food was incredible. I won’t go into it - check the website out for inspiration. The magnificent food was washed down with some of Angelina and Brad’s new rosé wine - Miraval ‘Pink Floyd’ which I couldn’t recommend more highly!I was still up for some fun so left my colleagues for the harbour again and found myself on Nick Candy’s beautiful yacht. It’s like nothing you’ve ever seen or experienced. Just the most beautiful property (aware I’m saying beautiful, stunning, magnificent a lot but everything here rightly deserve these descriptions!) I stood and drank white wine for a while and enjoyed banter with Dan Wootton and David Dinsmore about the EU referendum, before calling it a night and hitting the hay finally at 2am (which was early by everyone else’s activities that night!)The following day I had every intention of attending a Haymarket panel at 10, meet a prospective new event client at 11, do a lunch time meeting with a friend from WPP, before poking my head in to see what all the streaming platforms were up to in the afternoon before heading to the News UK yacht to prepare for Take That’s arrival. As with everything in Cannes that week - nothing goes to plan. It’s fairly well known that The Cannes Lions week is a series of missed and chance meetings and this was no exception. Everything changed (almost a Take That song!) which resulted in a commute to brief the band about the evening ahead over lunch at the beautiful Le Mas De Pierre (just north of Antibes) which is a gorgeous hotel set in the hills. The food here was exceptional too and yet another on the repeat visit list for future trips. By the time I got back Cannes I was lugging a huge bag along the strip to the News UK mooring in preparation of a quick exit for an 11pm flight out of Nice post show. I bumped into PR Week’s Danny Rogers who was hosting a PR leaders drinks for 5.30pm on the seafront. Time to change plans again!The 25 minute return to drop off my bag in the stifling heat to then attend the informal drinks was well worth every bead of sweat that had quietly accumulated. The attendees included ex-school mate and W communications founder Warren Johnson, Ogilvy’s CEO Michael Frohlich and the exceptionally affable Andy Polansky who’s the big boss at Weber Shandwick globally. Chatham House rules sadly so I can say no more but what a great bunch of people.The other thing about this week in Cannes is that on paper you appear to be doing very little but actually at every step of the way you’re doing some kind of business which mostly revolves around introductions and reconnections. It’s the ultimate networking space. There were actually people I met who said if you weren’t in Cannes that clients and competitors frowned upon it - almost like - ‘You’re not coming this year? Is your business ok?’ In the business of PR getting a feel for someone, trusting them, liking them, being impressed by them is 90% of the battle in acquiring new business. It’s all about the rapport and the fit and without the day to day distractions you can see things much better for what they are. This is definitely the place to make those connections. I once remember hearing about an agency losing out on a massive client, who was courting them a few years ago, because the client met another agency head at a party and was so impressed by them he gave them his business. They didn’t even get a chance to pitch! I’m already planning my trip next year!After a little over an hour at the PR Week drinks I headed back to the Marina for my main task of the week. Take That live onboard News UK’s official Cannes yacht. The event was easily the best of the week. Everyone wanted to be at this show. The decks either side of the official party boat hosted an over flow of VVIPs because they were well oversubscribed. When the band arrived they stopped for a brief chat with Mr Wootton, which you can see here, before hitting the stage for a greatest hits bonanza as the rosé wine washed down the throats of some of the most important players in the News UK network. It was a magic night.Oh and if you’re wondering if we got shortlisted for a Cannes Lion this year…We forgot to enter. Honestly! But if we had this was our winner: DawBell’s James Smyllie came up with the idea that we should approach the Royal Ballet, Royal College of Music and Trinity Boys Choir to re-interpret Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody for its 40th year anniversary - see it here... » read more

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