cyber team usa
Ben Sweitzer & Lindsey Butterwick,
AKQA San Francisco
he email read “Re: Pack Your Bags
You’re Going to Cannes.”
Much to our surprise, it wasn’t spam.
As the congratulatory calls, emails and
walls posts rolled in, we still couldn’t
believe we had actually won. It wasn’t
until we each received a call from Rei
Inamoto, AKQA’s Chief Creative Officer,
congratulating us that it clicked. We won.
We were going to Cannes!
Although we were headed to the French
Riviera, the trip didn’t begin glamorously.
Flight delays and lost luggage left us a little
ruffled upon arrival, but there was nothing
a day of sunshine and a swim in the
Mediterranean couldn’t fix. We made it.
The days that followed were nothing
like we expected. It was better — so much
better. We won’t bore you with the details
of our ten days, but we will break down
the “Do’s and Don’ts” of being Young Cyber
Lions in Cannes.
Do go to as many seminars and award
ceremonies as possible. Do bring business
cards; you’ll want to make sure people
remember you. Do research the campaigns
and people behind them prior to going.
Do bring sunscreen. Do make nice with
production companies; they have all the
best parties. Do be humbled. Do watch the
sunrise, at least twice. Do take a day trip
outside of Cannes. Do find Monoprix.
Don’t pack jeans; you’ll never wear
them. Don’t under estimate the importance
of Flash. Don’t spend all your money at
Gutter Bar. Don’t be afraid to approach
people and introduce yourself. Don’t go
home without feeling like you just had the
best time of your life. Don’t miss out on
the yacht parties. Don’t drink Rosé like it’s
water. Don’t take a second for granted.
Opportunities like Cannes don’t come
around very often and we have our
sponsors to thank. It was at the Closing
Gala – the last night of the festival – that
really put things into perspective for us.
We were dressed impeccably, sipping
champagne on the beach, hanging out
with fellow coworkers and new friends
we had made that week, when fireworks
started blasting over the Mediterranean.
The realization hit us; it doesn’t get any
better than this moment. It was the perfect
end to an amazing week. Cannes is a place
that will inspire you to no end. It’s a place
where you can network with people you
have no business talking to. It’s one of the
few places in the world where you can live
like the rich and act like the famous. It’s a
place you don’t want to miss.
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