Is Cannes Still Worth it?

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

By SummitSync


We don’t want to brush off the talented creative teams producing the 4,437 works submitted this year, or the over 1,900 awards that were handed out.

We want to celebrate how those creative works come into fruition and the importance of these handshakes.

See, we believe in the power of productivity, rosé and the art of shaking hands, making deals. Which is what Cannes is largely about.

Which is why when we got the opportunity to discuss this reality with Terry Kawaja, we jumped on board. Terry is a well-known face around Cannes with his firm LUMA Partners and is also the genius behind this quip on deal-making at Cannes. > # “There is no future of creativity without digital/data, and there is no future of digital/data without creativity.”

And what does this convergence of digital, data, and creativity look like?

It looks like a whole lot like advertising deals.

Kawaja continued with, “…the organizers are not taking advantage of this intersection and they seem to be taking a reactionary approach to changes; restricting access and forcing registration instead of creating a program that incentivizes participation — the carrot is more powerful than the stick.”

Yes, it’s nice to think that Cannes is all about the awards, rosé, and speaker line-up.

But, quite frankly, it’s not for the companies investing millions of dollars into the event and the festival needs to further realize this.

As Kawaja puts it, “They should embrace dealmaking that goes on, as such a unique chemistry is a rare thing and contributes greatly to the reason so many senior executives attend. Otherwise, it would only be creative types and ad salespeople.”

Breaking Down the Chemistry

The unique chemistry Kawaja mentions is the basis for measuring the return on attending Cannes. Which despite all the press, we believe is still incredibly high.

Without the combination of senior executives, salespeople, and creatives Cannes wouldn’t exist because the contracts behind the works submitted to Cannes wouldn’t exist.

Those contracts or deals have a price tag and a provable return on investment.

Our co-founders have been shaking hands and making deals on the Croisette for the last several years. They’ve estimated that the deals made for all companies while at Cannes averaged $100,000 in annual revenue per deal. But how many deals need to be made to make it worth it?

That depends on unlimited variables, but we’ve made some estimates.

Last year, Business Insider reported that an agency sending 200 employees with an average badge cost of $1,667 that submits 1,500 pieces of work at $555 each, would cost the group $1.1 million before ever booking a flight our hotel.

We’ll average about $3,000 per person for travel, hotel, food, and rosé which totals an additional $600,000. That’s a total of $1.7 million dollars.

That sounds like a pretty hefty price tag, but when you’re spending that much money on anything, you’re looking for a return.

And, in our experience, that return can be generated with only 17 deals, with an average value of $100,000.

If a company is sending 200 employees, we’re assuming some of those are salespeople. And if between them they can’t close 17 deals in the span of a week with rosé fueled meetings, yacht parties, and handshakes, they may want to look for a new career…

The math is still out on the deals made this year, but LUMA Partners released this infographic last year and recently updated it to show that 10 out of the 32 yachts at Cannes 2016 had an exit in the last year.

Whether you’re making deals or selling companies, Cannes can demonstrate a tremendous return.

Where Does that Return Start?

Well, it may have started with a handshake on those very yachts; and that’s one of the real distinctions at Cannes.

The festival provides a beautiful and lavish sanctuary to celebrate well-deserved awards, but it’s also a place for advertising and creative professionals to shake hands and toast to deals worth millions upon yachts and private beaches.

That’s one reason why we’re long on Cannes. It’s the epicenter of handshaking and deal-making in the world of marketing and advertising.

And, after all, we’re all about people facilitating more handshaking and deal making. Just ask the Shutterstock team who discovered, connected, and met with countless other attendees at Cannes — using our platform. The Shutterstock team were definitely the kings and queens of Cannes with regard to meetings and productivity this year.

In Conclusion

We believe whether you’re a creative or in the advertising/adtech business, and want to be inspired by incredible work, eat delicious (and quite expensive) salads while sitting on a private beach, and work, work, work, work, work on some of the biggest deals, then you still absolutely need to go to Cannes.

We do agree that the festival needs to continue to evolve to meet the needs and wants of the dynamic industry but it’s also on us, the participants, to drive innovation, participation, and engagement.

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