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The Influencers
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Why Cannes is Our Annual Creative Check Up

Mill London, 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Mill+ Creative Director Carl Addy and Executive Director Stephen Venning look ahead to the Croisette

Why Cannes is Our Annual Creative Check Up

Cannes is barely a fortnight away and we’re counting down the days – as are the team at Mill+, who already have a very full looking diary, with their Monday talk ‘SNAFU’, plenty of parties… oh and a FireFlies ride. Carl Addy and Stephen Venning look forward to a big week…

Are you going to Cannes this year? 

CA>Yes I’m there Monday to Friday this year as I am actually giving a talk on the Monday titled: SNAFU | Situation Normal, All F****d Up which aside from the talk dealing largely with the chaotic nature of constant change within our industry, I feel like it sums the average Cannes experience up pretty well.

SV> Yes, very much so, but this time with a purpose outside of just advertising! I’m really honoured, if a little apprehensive, in that for the first time I’m riding to Cannes from Geneva with the FireFlies. All with a plan to raise awareness and as much money as I can for the amazing charity Bloodwise, who invest in research for solving blood cancers. 

It’s incredible to think that the ride is in its 16th year and has now spawned similar rides on the west coast of the US and in New Zealand. In truth I’ve been lucky enough to attend Cannes through the years and won and lost etc. But to be riding there this time, thinking of how lucky I am to be able to do it in a year when the creative industry has been so affected by such a horrible disease as cancer, is going to make it truly special. And oh geez - how good is that glass of rose going to taste when we get to the Croisette?!


What are you most looking forward to at this year's festival? 

CA> Cannes for me almost becomes like a yearly creative check up. You get to take stock of the current census of output. It is not often that we as a community all just get to hang out and talk. Between the conversations, awards and talks you get to gauge what is really going on and hopefully a snapshot of where we are headed. 
 
It’s also a big year for The Mill creatively across all categories, particularly Innovation and VR. I’m hoping our collaboration with The Guardian “6x9”- a virtual experience of solitary confinement’ will get people talking and I’m looking forward to seeing and hearing people’s reactions to the project. 

SV> I have a huge soft spot for the YDA Awards on the Thursday so I’m looking forward to that. As much as I think I’m up to date with directors and who’s breaking through, that show always throws up brand new talent to watch out for. I’ll also try and check out the Snapchat, Facebook and Google beach parties.

Otherwise taking a selfie with my buddy Matt Fone from RiffRaff on Col du Galibier with team FireFlies will be particularly special.


Cannes predictions: what'll be taking home the big awards, what's going to generate a lot of buzz? 

SV> If I’m allowed to be biased I hope our new Mill car-rig aka The Blackbird takes home something in the Innovation category. It’s something that the team at The Mill have worked so hard on and invested in, so I’ll be crossing fingers and thumbs. Although perhaps not when I’m descending Mont Ventoux!

Plus I’m hoping our VR job created in collaboration with the Guardian ‘6x9: a virtual experience of solitary confinement' gets some deserved exposure. It was such a journey of discovery for us in making a narrative piece of journalistic content. Both technically and from a storytelling point of view. I mean, how do you make an entertaining VR piece about highlighting the wrongs of solitary confinement? And yet the result is so compelling it’s a real credit to the Guardian and Mill+ team that created it. 

A must win for me is also Outsider's Dom & Nic’s ‘Wide Open’ Chemical Brothers music video. Honestly one of my favourite pieces of work in many years. 

Otherwise as always I’m looking forward to being surprised by all the amazing work and ideas I haven’t seen from around the world that will inspire us to try and do better next year. 


What's your day plan going to be like? What parties are you most looking forward to?

CA> It’s always great to be out an about and experience as much as possible, or as much as you can in one very alcohol fuelled week. I’ll definitely be swinging by the Spotify House on the Croisette, won’t miss Shots and Massive music parties as well as attending the YouTube and of course LBB beach throughout the week. But if I am honest the only real plan I can rely on is that I’ll get involved, try and hold on tight and hydrate!

SV> So  my Cannes experience will mainly be made up of 7 days of riding (no rest day this year), with the aim of travelling 1000km and climbing over 25,000 metres which someone said is three and a half times Everest. All before I get to lay eyes on the advertising world. So god help those of you on the dance floor on Wednesday and Thursday evening.