The Networker’s view

Cannes in 360

Issue 48 | September 2018

Michael Tomes, Founder, Creativepool

I could quite easily have not gone to Cannes this year since I became a Dad earlier in the year. But I made the effort to go. And, actually, riding the motorbike down there, through the hills, was not only fun it was a great way to arrive, tired and thirsty.

For me, it's simple. Where else and when else do you get such a global gathering of such senior people? In the week I was there, I had over thirty meetings. It's all about networking and, by the way, it's the reason everyone else is there too. People you'd find it really difficult to get to meet at home are so much easier to engage with when they're in Cannes. Part of the value of the week is just wandering around and bumping into people. Well, among at least fifty other people, I bumped into the editor of Directory! Many of those chance encounters turned into interviews. And that's the thing, I'm there in order to create content for Creativepool rather than to see anybody else's talks or seminars.

Creativepool now has about a quarter of a million members. Because they are interested in what the top ECDs and CCOs are thinking and doing, we need to get those people thinking and doing on our platform.

They don't need to promote themselves but what they can do is use Creativepool as a forum in which to share their thoughts and aims, to inspire and educate.

Cannes is where we can reach this top 1% of the advertising community and get them to register with us.

Part of the recruitment strategy is our annual Pool Party, which has been getting more select each year. It's capped at 140 guests, who get to drink decent wine and proper champagne. None of the typical lukewarm rose´ with an ice- cube or two.

The idea is to bring top clients together with top creatives.

One major FMCG brand owner who came along gave us a brief two weeks later, which we offered up to our members on our StudioCrowd platform.

A CCO got in touch the following week to discuss how his agency could be exploiting Creativepool better to reach both clients and talent.

If my entire week was justified by those two introductions, it was made memorable by meeting Sir Martin Sorrell, who was one of the major topics of conversation all week.

We've been in email contact over the years but it was good to finally get in front of him and ask him about S4 Capital, the company he had just established after being forced to resign from WPP.

So, Cannes is about putting faces to names.

Meeting people and extolling the virtues of Creativepool to them all.

I know there has been a lot of negativity about the festival and I've been a critic myself in the past, when I thought it was becoming too money hungry for its own good.

But, speaking for myself, I didn't see evidence of the adtech takeover some people predicted. Nor was it completely dominated by clients. Pretty much every ECD and CCO of note was there.

And the reason for that is because winning a Lion is still the highest accolade you can get in the industry.

If Cannes Lions is changing, then it's because the creative industries around it are changing.

Quite honestly nobody would want it to be a gathering of traditional agencies, especially the traditional agencies.

It's a big enough event now for you to go and make what you want of it.

All the festival organisers are doing is providing a place and a reason for interesting and influential people to come together.

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