Cannes Lions Europe News

Five Reasons I Love Cannes Lions: Justin Gibbons, creative director, Arena Media


By Stephen Lepitak | -

June 20, 2014 | 4 min read

It's nearly that time of year again, when the most senior of agency bosses desert their offices for the wine and wonder that is the South of France. The Cannes Lions attracts everyone who is anyone in European advertising, and this year is likely to be no exception. In this series, some senior figures offer their five main reasons for loving the festival so much. Here, Justin Gibbons creative director at Arena Media tells us his reasons for loving the festival.

1.It's an unspoken rule that you never pay for anything in Cannes, ever. Period. It takes a while to accept that this is the law but after a few days you don't even take a wallet out with you. The whole thing is made even sweeter by the fact that Cannes is one of the most expensive places on the planet. Salade Nicoise for €50 anyone? There must be some startled people in the various finance departments across W1 processing the Cannes week expenses.

2. Holiday drinks are, on the whole, horrible. Ouzo and Retsina only taste good with the warm Greek sand between your toes and strum of the Bouzouki wafting from a beachfront taverna. The Kavos Headfucker is only truly enjoyed when you can drink it in full view of a girl wearing a sling being sick on her feet (as I once did). Domaine D'Ott is the exception. Pink, cold and “very sessionable”, it’s a Cannes staple. The only problem with drinking it when back home is that you discover the price (see point 1).

3.Being part of a French company has its advantages during Cannes week. Havas is on home turf on the Croisette and it shows. No rusty GCSE French needed to order a cab or retrieve lost shoes from a hotel room you vaguely remember being in. The Havas Café is a billowy chill out zone with rose on tap, fast wifi and direct access to the beach. It’s the kind of rehab centre I imagine quietly being hostelled at in years to come. Vive la revolution.

4.Google have the best parties. There, I’ve said it and whilst this ensures me a Big G invite I fear it may also lose me a few of the others. Just some of the things that Google get right: they party all day and all night so it’s more like a drop-in centre than a media bash, there is lots of cool stuff like last year’s stroboscopic ice cubes and Google Map bikes, and I think they had a pub quiz although I might be making that bit up. The mind plays tricks.

5. Seeing colleagues in their 'holiday clothes' is one of my private joys of going to Cannes. A select few can carry off shorts and they are normally the same ones who get lots of practice at their French villas. For the rest of us it’s grey knees, sports socks and waistbands that ‘must have shrunk since last year’. The real treasures are those people who clearly allow family members to buy their summer outfits. Cue practical sports sandals, t-shirts with pictures on and looks of abject horror on a hundred French faces.

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