Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er

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Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er

Siobhan Bird (above), a Sydney-based copywriter recently attended the Cannes Lions Creative Academy as one of the 30 young creatives selected globally. Here, Bird shares her reflections and top tips for Cannes first-timers, exclusively for CB.


Currently sitting in a London Starbucks recuperating from the wild week that was Cannes Lions 2024. As one of the 30 students in the Cannes Lions Creative Academy, my week was jam-packed with daily classes, client dinners and not-to-be-missed after-hour events. Averaging 3 hours of sleep and running on adrenaline, inspiration and Red Bull, by the end of the week I was feeling equally empowered and exhausted.

As a first-time Cann-er, there was a lot to learn, so I thought I could use this space as a place to leave some of my top tips for surviving Cannes Lions.

Tips for surviving Cannes:

1. Starting with pronunciation – It’s [ Can ] like ‘Trash Can’. – We may have said this to a French man who wasn’t too impressed with the reference 😅
2. Beware of FOMO – There are a million and one things all happening at the same time. You won’t be able to go to everything, so just pick your favourites and try not to dwell on the ‘what ifs’.
3. Sign up for everything! – Everyone loves options so get your name on as many lists as possible and see where the wind takes you.
4. Wear sunscreen + bring water – A classic Euro trip tip that can sometimes get forgotten amongst the chaos of this corporate Contiki.
5. See the work – Make time to visit the Palais Basement. With high-speed internet and aircon, it’s not a bad place to park yourself for the afternoon.
6. Bring a handheld fan (or 2) – I went through 3 but that’s because I’m an aggressive fanner.
7. Cannes is a place of contradictions – You’ll have people preaching the power of social and those who are tied to traditional advertising. Eco-warriors advocating for sustainability and the Amazon tent handing out boxes of bucket hats, plastic bracelets and other junk, cough cough “merch”.
8. Loosen your purse strings – Cannes is not cheap. One lunch I paid $94 AUD for a pizza… I had Maccas for dinner.
9. Business cards are accepted – A wanky addition to everyday life, business cards are socially acceptable in Cannes. I made a paperless business stamp which resulted in me stamping coffee cups, drink coasters and ECD’s wrists as though I was a bouncer granting exclusive access to my website.
10. Take the ‘work’ out of networking – As our Academy Dean told us, if you want to build authentic connections networking shouldn’t feel like work. Thus the term ‘netting’ was born.

Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er Siobhan Bird: Top tips from a first time Cann-er