In which we slow down a bit and stumble into literally the most awful place in Cannes.
We hadn’t seen it coming. A baying mob surged at our elbows. Everywhere we looked, handsome men with thick beards and designer glasses, and pretty girls with great hair and short dresses, were quaffing expensive rosé and shouting at each other. We were right in the middle of a giant metaphor for the death of creativity. How had it come to this?
Tuesday started slowly; it was always going to be a come-down after our first day of yacht-based hair-fuckery, and so it proved. But it was far from a write-off; we continued our successful run of meeting interesting people and experienced some great cultural learnings for make benefit glorious agency of Don’t Panic.
- Chatting with Alistair Cotterill of Instagram about the future of short-form content, our place in it and how to tell a beautiful story to 150M people in just 15 seconds.
- Sharing a bottle of wine with friend-of-Don’t-Panic Charlotte Day-Lewin of Mindshare and reminiscing about last year’s hilarious shenanigans with Nimrod Kamer.
- Getting to know production house Stink over dinner, and meeting perhaps a kindred punk spirit in Czech founder Dan Bergmann. Thanks for the hook-up, Lacyn. And thanks for teaching us our two new favourite acronyms: CBF (Can’t Be Fucked) and ZFG (Zero Fucks Given).
- Bumping into our good friends from POKE and realising that Joe and Nick Farnhill should be on our Wall of Same (Same! Same! Same! Ding, ding, ding…). Who wears a suit in this heat? These guys.
- Realising that most people in advertising are like “Where the fuck did you come from, Don’t Panic?” and are a teeny bit jealous, which they will only admit after a couple of drinks.
- Watching a literal dickhead whip up a crowd of frenzied clubbers at a slumber party. Those crazy Dutch Jongehonden!
- Seeing these things on the pavement everywhere. There’s no king in teamwork, Workfront, whoever you are!
- The Carlton Intercontinental. The most awful place in Cannes.
Look, I made a shitty panorama. There’s Joe and Jolyon on the right looking like rabbits caught in the headlights. And there’s everyone else, their faces all weird and blurred because of the panorama mode, but accidentally a representative metaphor of the unhappy, faceless horde we were suddenly a part of. And this is just one small bit of the outside. Inside was worse. It was a seething mass of self-conscious homogeneity. Everywhere you moved, people looked at you for that half-second too long. You know, when they’re thinking “Who is this? Should I know him? Have we met before?” And whenever you stood still, you could barely hold a conversation for the people bumping into you and past you, desperately trying to reach the bar or claw their way back to the people they arrived with (we lost Nick Farnhill almost instantly. If you find him, please Tweet us at @dontpanicLDN to let us know he’s ok).
Everyone was drinking exactly the same thing. Ridiculously expensive rosé, flushed a gentle pink, served in beautiful, graceful bottles the size of toddlers, beaded with condensation. And it was foul! Hello?! Why are we all drinking this shit? We are better than this, advertising people. Come on!
We love a bit of glamour as much as the next uppity young agency, but there comes a time when you have to look around and think hard about why you started doing this in the first place. So we left. ZFG.