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Cannes Lions

The Cannes Vet vs. the Cannes Virgin

Seasoned Croisette-goer Ellie Botwood shares tips with first timer, music consultant Imogen Pring of GOLDSTEIN – but will she take heed?

The Cannes Vet vs. the Cannes Virgin

Cannes has grown beyond recognition and for a first time attendee, it can all seem quite overwhelming. Thankfully there are experienced hands who have been 5, 6, or even 15 years on the trot. These are the people you want to get close to. They will keep you right. Right? Or are they rosé-hardened bad influences?

Ellie Botwood, who runs Bot Inc and Imogen Pring will be putting that to the test. Ellie – the seasoned Cannes hand - is passing some genuinely practical pearls of wisdom… and post-Lions we’ll catch up with Imogen, our Cannes virgin, to find out how she gets on. Will she take heed or throw caution to the wind?


1. Be Frugal. On arrival, ask people from your flight if they want to share a cab to Cannes. The likelihood they are heading to the Croisette is extremely high and means you won’t have to fork out €100 yourself. Also stock up on plenty of food & water from the local supermarket. Unless you want to wander aimlessly at 3am and then paying €30 for a plate of soggy chips. 

2. Leave the pool party early. Took me until Cannes 4 to learn this valuable lesson. As fun as it is, don’t stay until the bitter end. You can GUARANTEE there will be no cabs and it’s a long walk down from the mountains. Leave an hour before it finishes. Freshen up. Hydrate. Eat. Snooze. Shower. Hit the town again fresh as a daisy. Also, drunk and in beach wear on the Carlton Terrace is not the best look.

3. Ask for business cards. If you have a shocking short term memory like me, you will never remember conversations and names unless prompted. Cards help jog the memory. Look them up back home and say “Great to meet you in Cannes”. More than likely they won’t remember who you are either. Failing that, make notes in your phone when you nip to the loo. Life saver!

4. Stay within this side of the motorway. Unless you are heading to a glamorous villa party there is absolutely no reason to go beyond the motorway. It’s like a no go barrier. Treat it that way.

5. Never offer to buy a drink at the Carlton past 8pm. You will end up paying treble for the house rose. And no one will be none the wiser. Except your wallet. And probably your boss. Don’t be fooled by the Jeroboam’s either. They look great fun, and so they should at €500 a pop.

6. Apply suntan lotion in the morning. Rouge isn’t the best look in Soho. It is absolutely unacceptable in the Cote D’Zur. 

7. Get on a yacht. If you are invited, cancel everything and go. It’s truly amazing. Unless it’s the Daily Mail yacht. Then avoid like the plague. 

8. Escape to Mougins. Or anywhere out of Cannes. Take stock for a few hours, take in where you are, refresh and not hate everyone and everything for a few hours. 

9. Know when the night is over. If it’s 6:30am and the bin men are cleaning the gutter bar, it’s a clear sign to go home.

10. What happens in Cannes, stays in Cannes. This is true. Until you have a screening at BBH in two weeks’ time. Remember it’s still business. Try not to be a dick. People will remember. Trust me.

11. Remember to Power Up. Should you be caught short with a dreaded dead phone, go and find the wonderful music people at GOLDSTEIN, or their sister folk at DOLCE, for a branded phone charger.

And last, but, perhaps, most importantly…

12. Don't get completely hammered on the first night. We've all done it. It just means the next few days will be VERY long.