Oh, how times have changed. Where once Cannes Lions held the promise of endless cocktails, flamboyant parties and untold glamour, the ad world is being enticed with the prospect of discount flights, bargain bus fares, free wi-fi and the chance to have a local supermarket deliver basic supplies to the door of your self-catering apartment.
Money is so tight in adland that the organisers of festival have resorted to sending out missives advising potential attendees how to do Cannes without splashing a boat load of cash.
One piece of advice is: “Get a discounted flight with British Airways.” It’s a good idea, particularly with a special promotional discount available to Cannes Lions delegates. Not great for those in the Middle East, however, who would face an epic journey via Heathrow.
Two more tips are to “get a local SIM card and avoid roaming charges” and “share a serviced apartment and self-cater – supermarkets such as Monoprix and Casino have a home delivery service”.
It’s all very laudable and at least proves that Cannes organisers are reacting to the financial issues which will deter many from attending. But it’s not quite the week of yacht trips, pool parties, luxury living and fine dining that most people in the industry have become accustomed to.
In the end, it’s a sign of the times, with some observers in the UK’s Campaign magazine openly questioning whether this traditionally flamboyant festival should be, well, canned.
It might be more about tinned beans than tiaras but one thing is for sure. Those long nights spent dancing on tables in the infamous ‘Gutter Bar’ will take on a whole new meaning. Gazing at the stars and all that.