This is not an ordinary week, this is Cannes week. Other Mondays might start with a working breakfast, only one in the year starts with croissants on the Croisette.
Earlier in my career I thought Cannes was a bit of an indulgence. Pink, peeling ad people in pursuit of pink, pricey wine. Not any more. It’s now the place to see where the creative industry is at and where it’s heading.
It’s a racing start to the day because my companion is Harris Diamond, the McCann Worldgroup CEO. Harris can go from global geopolitics to personal insight to the bit you missed in your numbers in seconds. He asks me about Brexit and the latest trends – UK will remain I tell him.
After Monday’s frustrating football, today kicks off with a discussion on Ethics in Advertising in the Guardian Speaker Lounge. It’s led by Tim Lefroy, chief executive at the AA. There’s a welcome, growing view in the industry that the responsibilities of advertising and brands are a vital part of their equity. For me it’s even starker – we succeed only because we stay in touch with the tastes and views of our customers – if they change so must we, or risk irrelevance.
Then it’s back to the hotel for a big client meeting – Cannes is full of clients now, a great thing. It shows that despite often contrary views, creativity remains vital to them and the value of their businesses.
The day begins with the IPG women’s breakfast. Listening to Dr Mae Jemison, the first African American Woman to travel in space is breathtaking. Oh, she’s a doctor and a classical dancer as well. Michael Roth put diversity at the heart of the IPG agenda a decade ago when it was far less mainstream. Looking round the room at colleagues and clients, it’s clear we’re reaping the benefits.
The day winds down with the Campaign party – a wonderful way to meet just about everyone in the industry you know or want to talk to. Brexit flits on and off the agenda – we all agree, gratefully, that it isn’t going to happen.
Today I’ve got some concerted time in the Palais – I want to look at the Retail and Automotive shortlists and also revel in the fact that this is McCann Worldgroup’s best Cannes for years at both UK and global level.
The dominant theme this year in the talks is the coming together of tech and humanity. I scare myself rigid in the Google VR demo, standing in a small beach hut and yet convinced I’m 90 feet up on a narrow diving board.
Tech that harnesses the full majesty of the human mind is going to be important. There’s also a global leadership meeting – some of my colleagues from the US ask about the Brexit thing. All the figures say ‘Remain’ I tell them.
This is not a normal week, and this is definitely not a normal day. Around 4am I wake up in the hotel and look at the computer, to check we are safely still in the EU. What?! We’re leaving.
The next few hours are spent coming to terms with the inconceivable.
We agree on a communication for all MWG’s UK staff that morning. Many are young, metropolitan and multicultural – the heart of the ‘in’ vote. Note drafted, I go for a jog. I run with all the speed and grace of a dying donkey, but it does clear my mind and cheer me up.
The great thing about this industry is that we’re creative. We’ll find a way to adapt and work with this. Change is always opportunity. The final croissant of the week tastes better after all.
Favourite media: BBC.co.uk, Times Digital, Netflix, SkyGo, Guardian.co.uk, EVO
Biggest inspiration: The people around me
Dream job: Being Rory McIlroy
Not a lot of people know this about me: My great grandfather was called Wolf Ferrari and wrote operas