Cannes 2018: Behind the velvet curtain – Part 2

By - CTL
June 25, 2018

By undercover reporter, Jay J. Low.

Cannes, shit. I’m still in Cannes. Every time I think I’m going to wake up back in my own bed in my Paddington loft apartment. When I was home after my first tour, it was worse. I’d wake up and there’d be nothing…

I hardly said a word to my wife until I said yes to a divorce. When I was there I wanted to be here. When I was there, all I could think of was getting back into the wine-soaked jungle.

I’ve been here a week now. Waiting for an exit row, getting softer. Every minute I stay in this room I get weaker. And every minute the Lions squat in the bush, waiting to be gifted to some unfortunate soul, who will never even know that this is the high point of his life. Everything is downhill from here. Each time I look around the walls move in a little tighter.

Everyone gets everything he wants. I wanted a mission, and for my sins they gave me one. Brought it up to me like room service. “You’re going to Cannes,” they told me. And now look at me. Bruised. Broken. Bleeding. My nostrils feeling like I’ve gone ten rounds with a 20yr-old Tyson, my liver squealing with nausea every time my eyes dart towards the sunlight coming through the wooden shades pulled across the window.

This is advertising’s Apocalypse Now – with some demented agency head, drunk on gold and rose wine, wearing eye-liner and scurrying from the shade of one palm tree to another, vowing never to go home and please don’t tell his wife about what happened here. People just wouldn’t understand. You weren’t there, maaaan.

And me? What do I have to show for my mission? A broken camera, and some half-scribbled notes on torn napkins and cigarette packets, like the scrawls of a demented 5 year old. I am only vaguely awake, drifting in and out of a half-remembered dream, and yet the deadline…oh God, the deadline…as inevitable as the morning sunrise, approaching by the hour.

I wipe the powder from my upturned phone and check messages. Standard stuff. “Where are you?” “Where is my money?” “When is the copy coming?” – but then several messages I have sent to myself through the past week shed light on what has gone on, and how the next instalment of my Cannes Diary for CTL is going to go from here.

After several days of parties, oh and some awards, Aussies are labelled by larger Ad world as the ‘Worst Dancers Eva’. Jim Gemstone from US agency Dogma V commented: “Look, the dudes are kinda ok, they don’t really move much, but full of French Rosé, the dance floor erupts with full-blown white girl dance. It’s like Elaine from Seinfeld works at every Australian agency and production company”.

In response, Sarah McConnell, ECD of Sydney agency 5 Stupid Apes, called Gemstone: “A fat, sad old wank,” that is scared to hit the dancefloor for fear of repeating his vulgar reptile hip thrust routine from 2017 that might have been okay in the 70s. “You dance with your feet, not with your miniscule penis, you creepy bastard” she told him, causing much amusement among their fellow judges.

After (and some commented during) the Annual Delete FX. Pool party, over 100 Australian, 6 Dutch and 3 Korean advertising people developed signs of a nasty rash. Predominately located in the underarm and crotch areas, the rash is said to be extremely uncomfortable and ‘bloody itchy’. The sudden epidemic even caused a mass use of FF points with airlines reporting a spike in requested upgrades from Cannes due to the discomfort. Disappointed only being able to secure an upgrade for his Dubai to Sydney leg, Danny Keg winced: “It’s better than nothing. I only hope the rash is gone by the time I get home or I have a lot of explaining to do”. Scratching his undercarriage, Corey Rickshaw said: “I’ve had a rash for years, no big deal. Did you see the belly flop I landed? Lynchy and the production birds from BDD were drenched”.

Away from the pools, there was a major incident for Melbourne agency Backie Tin, with the company hiring an Uber helicopter to take key staff to various parties across Cannes.  Thinking he was in a taxi cab, agency boss Clive Carnivore tried to roll his window down to vomit, but sadly fell to his death on the helipad soon after take off. Despite the shocking scenes, the team didn’t let it spoil the party, because as it turned out, thoughtful Clive had left his bumbag with all the gear behind. With his sad death not yet reported to head office, the team were able to continue using his company card all evening at the MasifMusak shindig, a night so wild it saw a naked David Hasselhoff perform his world-wide hit, Freedom, as he leapt from a diving board into a writhing orgy of bodies that left this writer thinking back to the sweet and innocent days of Sodom and Gomorrah.

Clive Carnivore – RIP

After I’m done writing, I glance at the Ad News story on the event, and of Australia success. Their digital editor Lindsay Bennett wrote: “Australia has ranked sixth globally at Cannes Lions, scoring 56 gongs overall – including four Grand Prix. This figure is 50% less than our total wins last year, likely impacted by the cap Cannes Lions introduced as part of its overhaul, limiting the number of categories one campaign can enter.”

It got me wondering…Australia’s success? As in, Australia, the collective…the Royal ‘we’…Do we – those working out of the country – really rally together and celebrate each other’s success on the world stage? If you answer yes to this question, I ask…what the fuck happens every other day of the year, when you wankers take great delight in tearing down the campaigns of your ‘rival’ agency on anonymous comments sections on unnamed publications? If it wasn’t you or your partners, it’s shit. Granted, there is a lot of shit. But like my dear old mother used to say: “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

On that note, I file the copy and issue my invoice, vowing never to write another word about Cannes.

Until next year, that is.


This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

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