Cannes Lions: A Beginner’s Guide (Plus, The Top Takeouts For 2016)

Cannes Lions: A Beginner’s Guide (Plus, The Top Takeouts For 2016)

In a follow-up piece from yesterday, Ryan Manning (pictured below), MediaCom’s 25-year-old content distribution director, has just spent his first week in Cannes. Here’s his top tips for first-timers to adland’s show of shows, and his top takeouts from 2016…


  • Talk to EVERYONE. You never know who is standing next to you and most of the time you will be quite surprised.
  • Go to an award show. It’s very tempting to spend 6-9pm each night out on the rosé. The evening never stops so don’t worry, you won’t miss out. The award show was one of the most inspirational parts of the trip for me.
  • Have an open mind but don’t be afraid to challenge people. Everyone is there to debate and have a conversation about the industry. If you have an opinion, say it. But you also need to listen!
  • Plan your parties! If you’re not on the list, you’re not getting in. Seriously. Waiting to get on a boat party with Fatboy Slim that you know deep down your never getting on is no fun, trust me.
  • Make a list of people you want to meet and find them. I found everyone I reached out too extremely receptive to having a chat, must be something in the rosé.
  • Like rosé… everyone drinks it, I have no idea why.
  • Don’t only go and see people you have heard of, read the description and be surprised. Some of the best talks were the ones I stumbled upon.
  • Go to talks that are not related to your specialism. You can learn a lot from people who don’t do what you do. Don’t go to five talks about programmatic.
  • Have some fun! You will probably feel an overwhelming responsibility to come back to the office with some gold. Relax and take everything in, it will come to you. You can miss a lot if you’re franticly scribbling a statistic in your notebook.

As a summary, below are my top takeaways from Cannes Lions this year.

  • Buy an Amazon Echo – even if it scares you.
  • Buy some VR technology and make sure everyone in your business has used it.
  • Variety is the spice of creative life, bring in people without marketing backgrounds.
  • Don’t let targeting and adtech overcome your message.
  • Build a brand, even if the ROI says no to start with.

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