The Insider's Guide to Cannes: Pour commencer ...

Advertising is at its sexiest during Cannes. For a week each year, around 8,000 delegates and a load of unofficial hangers-on move to a snobby former fishing village on the Cote d'Azur.

Once there, the ad world revels in all its sweaty, competitive, brainy and gorgeous glory. The range of work you can see in just a few days is staggering. So is the range of people you meet - agency staffers, clients, producers, directors, the lot.

But the best thing about Cannes are the screenings. While the jurors debate, hermetically sealed in the bunker-like Palais des Festivals, delegates watch the shortlisted work in darkened theatres. You swoop in a matter of minutes from cosmetics to cars to banks and from Bejing to Portland via Rio. Stamina - for you know that afterwards you'll be partying all night - is the only passport needed.

It's here that you discover that other countries really, really care about their ads. The audience will award a thousand whistles and catcalls to a dull ad, and a standing ovation to a success. Have you just witnessed the next "whassup?" or the work of an impostor? The boos instantly say it all.

Campaign's Insider's Guide to Cannes is published in association with DDB. Many thanks to a remarkable agency brand around the world and to Keith Reinhard and Ken Kaess for their take on how to "do" Cannes (p11).

Rather fittingly, the network with more Grand Prix on its shelf than any other also throws one of the best Cannes parties.

I hope this guide gives you a glimpse into the excitement and importance of Cannes. Thanks to the flair of the Reports Editor, Robin Hicks, it reflects Campaign's, and the industry's, magical mixture of serious topics and gossipy fluff.

Finally, please don't forget to give your 50 euros towards the CannesDo charity (www.cannesdo.org) before you head for the Cote d'Azur.

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