Returning from the 2011 Cannes Lions festival - or as I like to call it, the advertising olympics - I feel as if my brain has been blown so many times, it entered a blank space which was then reprogrammed by everyone I spoke to. Brace yourselves, the word "I" is going to be used so much here I'm boring myself already.
Sure sure, you all know that there were seminars and workshops that might be mindblowing, but I had the extra hex of complete and utter hardware failure. Bigtime. If you ever want to make your brain feel smooth as a grape, then infused with wrinkles again, try doing a full week of Cannes without any hardware such as cellphone nor computer. My laptop is literally half of my brain, my over-organized iPhone is my workline. To top it all off, the secondary phone had no charger, and my scribbly diary with all my meetings was in there as well. The delegates bag where all of this had been had decided to vanish into a pile of delegates bags somewhere.
This is where it gets interesting though. While I'm panicking enough to need to carry a permanent brown paper bag for hyperventilating breaks, everyone I meet and a whole bunch of people I never had suddenly rallied around the idea of finding my missing delegates bag, and a strange hacking trend started to take shape.
I managed to remember that I was scheduled to meet Shane Ginsberg from Organic on Tuesday, and when he saw the pale panic in my eyes, our interview turned into a walking one - checking all the usual suspect spots for delegates bags. He also spots that I'm a geek quite fast, as he hands me his card I turn it over it reads "Charlotte" - for Charlottes web. I geekgiggled. We bump into Steve Kerho who is a brilliant analyst at Organic, and as he hands me his card the back of it reads: ln(ex)=x and I swear I gave out a geeksnort laugh at that. Remember kids, no logarithm can be defined at zero. At this point, after meeting brilliant people like Shane who is sharp as a knife, Greg Andersen from BBH, who will turn every interview around on the interviewer, and the forward thinking powerhouse top crew Jason Schragger and Joost Perik from BSUR Amsterdam... I'm beginning to lose my own brain trying to remember all the funny quips and pearls of wisdom they impart. I didn't sleep more than an hour or two all week.
Then there was a sudden tweeting-chain where Cannes people where trying to find my bag, even Brian Elliott the founder of Amsterdam Worldwide got in on that game, and soon I'm crumbling humbling that so many people I find to be so smart, are also such... what's the word..... mench.
At one point I'm even interviewing Terry Gilliam, trying my very best to not act as a starstruck schoolgirl (failed, miserably, by the way). Cannes people come out from nowhere to offer me their laptops and iPhones and I meet even nicer brilliant people, but every time I attempt to use any technology it plain won't work. I couldn't even get the airco to start in my room. Wifi went down as soon as I came near it. Monte Isom who lent me his laptop witnissed how the actual screen would get wonky if I came within three feet of it. I was hexed! At this point, all everyone could do was laugh - but I'm getting increasingly sad for each day that it is gone. My brain hurts from trying to "record" every conversation I'm having, and it's been properly blown several times, as witty and intense people are basically hacking my stressed out brain.
Then the miracle happened. Stephen Martincic is the ECD of DraftFCB in London, the smartest dresser, the unofficial mayor of Cannes and apparently he's also God. Angela tricks me over to the Grand for a coffee-powow, and strutting up from behind me I hear Stephen say: "I have a feeling this will make you love me forever" as he plops my iphone into my lap and the picture of my waving babygirl smiles at me from it.There's real happy-tears in this hug, kids. "I found the worlds dirtiest laptop in this bag and thought, oh it must be Åsks." Right you are.
It's the miracle of Cannes.
Now you know where adland was coming from when I tweeted:
Every conversation here is hacking my brain and reprogramming me to do better. #Canneslions