Flack in Cannes: Superman, speedboats and more from our man in la Croisette

A sunburnt and exhausted Flack brings the gossip from the International Festival of Creativity.

The real PR Lions

Wednesday this week saw the second annual PR Cannes Fringe event take place on the Cote D’Azur. Nicknamed #SpareMagnum for some self-indulgent reason, this incarnation certainly saw some fireworks.

Conjured up by (pictured left to right, below) W’s Warren Johnson, PRWeek’s Danny Rogers and Taylor Herring’s James Herring, PR Cannes Fringe is most clearly intended to be a very serious discussion of the creative and innovation challenges facing UK independent PR agencies.

This year, Herring, who has many decades of experience in the South of France, as he never tires of telling people, convinced the assembled PR glitterati that his chosen restaurant on Isle Sainte-Marguerite was a venue conducive to this sort of erudite, high-level discussion.

However, shortly after the start of the ‘round table’ – featuring such luminaries as Hope & Glory’s Jo Carr, Munch’s Lizzie Earl, Ready10’s David Fraser, Citypress’ Charles Tattersall and Frankie Cory of Mischief and Frank fame – something rather odd happened.

The highly attuned ears of PR hack Rogers were already discerning a noticeable increase in the volume of the restaurant’s music. Was that really the Superman theme blaring out of the unnaturally large sound system? A man dressed as the aforementioned superhero was suddenly floating horizontally above diners’ heads, holding what appeared to be a magnum of Champagne, with a firework issuing from the bottle (it’s well worth watching Herring’s short video, below).

And if that weren’t enough to distract the PR bosses from their thoughts on channel integration, the entire restaurant metamorphosised into a daytime nightclub (quite possibly an unforgiveable oxymoron – ed).

Other tables spontaneously rose to their feet, twirling napkins rounds their heads as we were treated to deafening Bon Jovi (yes, I know), Zorba the Greek and a selection of Ibiza classics. Was that a well-known American footballer sitting at the next table? Was that his daughter or his girlfriend alongside him?

The gathered professionals turned to James H. Could this be one of Taylor Herring’s famed stunts? But our man was by now looking a little pale, ushering the congregation to a table on the (comparatively) quieter end of the restaurant.

Fortunately these hard-bitten PR chiefs, toughened in the battle of numerous client crises over the years, soldiered on. And – with the help of some timely Espresso Martinis – completed the debate with gravitas and aplomb.

Indeed, only the speedboat trip back to Cannes was able to disrupt the group’s calm stoicism. The skipper, apparently involved in impressing some American ladies seated in the back of the boat, proceeded to ramp the throttle up to eleven. Let’s just say the waves appeared a little choppy.

It is possible that all said agency heads (and stomachs) did return from this year’s PR Cannes Fringe. Unfortunately, the organisers were too shaken to apply a proper count. Instead they disappeared up La Croisette in search of safety and, quite possibly, more oysters.

There were many calls at Cannes this year for more creative ‘bravery’ to be displayed by the rosé-soaked metropolitan elite gathered on the Riviera. And one likes to feel that the UK PR indie sector has proven it is leading that charge.

Tweet retreat

Flack delves into some of his favourite tweets from the festival. Enjoy...

(Flack resists the temptation to make a joke about this attendee's name...)

Party on, part one

Rushing back from Cannes to our nation's capital, Flack paid a visit to FleishmanHillard Fishburn's summer soirée at Omnicom HQ on Bankside, where there was just as much fun being had. 

It's not often you get to eat a blue cheese chicken skewer with an inflatable pigeon on your head, but such were the skills of Twistina, the inflatable artisan who made sure guests could adorn their heads with an array of air filled animals and objects.

Plus, there were beer fuelled chats about Boris and Brexit on the balcony - but it wasn’t all doom and gloom - the rain held off until the end of the night.

Party on, part two

Displaying an amazing ability to be in two places at once, Flack attended another 'not at Cannes and don't care' bash last night: the BME PR Pros summer party at The Chapel Bar in Islington. With great company, banging tunes and plentiful drinks like this, who needs the French seaside?

He loves it when a plan comes together...

After PRWeek's latest Inside In-house feature was published online this week, Flack noticed some attention being paid to the accompanying photo:

After several 're-takes' (check out the thread), it became clear that Jockey Club comms supremo Scott Bowers fancies himself as a bit of a Hannibal Smith.

If you've got a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you should hire... The Jockey Club Team:

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