To the outside world, it must sometimes seem like Cannes is an endless stream of parties. For the PR industry, however, the week is as much about putting in a series of back-breaking shifts on behalf of clients, amid a deluge of media requests.
With that in mind, the Holmes Report asked one working PR person - Marlin PR's Victoria Lugton - to break down a typical 24-hour period on the Croissette.
7.00am – We arrived in Cannes late last night. First thing in the morning we get together as a team to chat through roles for the week It’s a meeting but we make sure we head out to the beach to chat so we can enjoy some of the amazing weather. We have three members of the team in Cannes, working for two clients in different places, at different times meeting different journalists. To add to the excitement (and craziness), Marlin PR also launched their own piece of research at Cannes – the Creative Intelligence Report, examining creativity within the PR industry.
8.00am – First pre-briefing of the day with the CEO of one of our clients. We secured a Cannes workshop for him and a number of press interviews so I meet to chat through all the detail. His flight times have changed as he needs to get back to the US so we need to reschedule interviews as much as possible and reorganise the logistics.
9.00am – Following the meeting we head to the press office – one of our favourite places as it’s where we get the chance to meet the journalists we haven’t managed to lock down a briefing with and arrange a drink for later in the week. It also gives you a chance to hear what everyone is talking about – what are the big issues being discussed?
10.00am – Following our industry report going live, we find a spot in the Palais to tweet industry influencers and keep an eye on the PR Lions award ceremony tonight. Lots of searching through hashtags and the wifi is pretty slow but we do manage to get hold of a few people and get some responses.
11.30am - Client one hosts the first CEO workshop – we're taking photos, taking notes, creating content for our social media feeds and uploading throughout the session. We also have to ensure we have all the technical requirements sorted – if anything goes wrong it's us who has to fix it.
1.00pm – Following the workshop we have lunch with the CEO and a key journalist for an interview – not one of those long and lazy Cannes lunches with copious bottles of Rose – this one is all business.
2.00pm – Following the lunch there is a session in the Grand Audi that we’re desperate to see, so we pop in. The session is fantastic and definitely worth attending – the buzz in the Palais is electric. However, when we head out there’s a backlog of emails so we head down to the Young Lions area (our temporary office), grab one of the fantastic (and free) smoothies and go through everything.
3.00pm – Head back upstairs to see what other seminars are taking place – one of the workshops is just starting so we sit through that and relay information through our social media channels. We also keep our clients who aren’t at Cannes updated with the insights that are discussed in these kind of seminars.
4.00pm – Just received an email to say our other client has arrived at their hotel so we head over to meet with them and welcome them to Cannes and also go through the week’s events. They want to get out and about so I suggest heading to the Cannes Connect Bar as happy hour starts at 5.30.
6.30pm – I leave the scorching heat of Cannes Connect and head back to the apartment to meet up with the team. Our San Francisco based clients are just waking up so we have a call with them to update on activity and also give them the insights we’ve taken away from the sessions so far.
7.30pm – Leave the apartment and head to Google Sandbox with the team for drinks – there are a number of journalists and industry friends there we know so we speak to them about our clients and generally catch-up. We also talk to them about the Marlin PR Creative Intelligence report – sparking some debate about creativity in PR versus creativity in advertising.
8.30pm – Meet some industry contacts for dinner and then head out to one of the many parties. Some are invite only but we manage to blag our way into a few of them and meet some really interesting people.
12.00pm – Head to the Gutter Bar and bump into one of our clients who wants to talk to us about the upcoming session they’re hosting. They’re also keen to know what media are around so it’s a bit more shop talk.
1.00am – Phone call from another client asking where we are as they want to celebrate a good day. They’re at a party we just left so, even though it’s closing, we talk our way back in and meet them on the dance floor.
2.00am – Party closes and we head back to Gutter Bar for final drinks with clients, journalists and a few new friends in tow.
4.00am – Ensure our clients make it safely back to their hotels. Walk back to our apartment and head to bed… ready to start all over again in 4 hours!
Victoria Lugton is a senior account director at Marlin PR