Abhik Santara
Jun 21, 2023

Cannes Lions 2023: 24 hours with Abhik Santara

It was all work and no play on day two of the festival for Santara

Cannes Lions 2023: 24 hours with Abhik Santara

Since Yash (our CCO and partner) couldn't make it at the last moment due to some urgent meetings in Thailand, there was an avalanche of pressure on me to do the right things and focus on work.
It started that way too. I attended four Zoom call meetings and had more work-related stuff to take care of. Our client friends were also with me, so I had to master the art of 'pretend-working' like a pro.
We had chalked out a fluid schedule on the things that we want to do, learn and get inspired from, so here's how my day played out.

6:30am: At the crack of dawn, I called up my cab guy who chauffeured me from the airport the day before. He had a Tesla, model 3. I chatted with him for 15 minutes (one of my longest and most sincere phone conversations). After understanding all the different ways to take that car to India (something I decided to do this year), I cut the call. The cab driver could only speak French, so I wouldn’t 100% trust what I understood from that conversation. With the promise of a shiny new car, I checked the shortlists for the day and felt super happy for friends who got featured. I relooked at our case studies and justified with multiple reasons why we couldn't get a shortlist (this is the 10th time we reviewed it after the submissions). Felt so proud of the work, once again. But postponed the plan to buy the car for a year!

11am:  Reached the Palais and attended the session with By The Network peers on the Terrace. Paid our sincere tribute to Per (we all miss him so much), and caught up with his lovely wife, Nanna.

1pm: Was super hungry when I realised that I didn't eat dinner the previous night or breakfast in the morning. Felt awful and hungrier.

As I was pretending to work again, a sudden call from some old friends in Africa and Germany broke the rhythm. We were meeting after 10 years. Before I could realise it, we were having an intense brainstorming session on ideas and how to collaborate on brands for both countries. No other place in the world provides for a better vibe to discuss ideas, than Yo Marina. A few more beers down, and my Bengali blood gave away. I was super sleepy, I had to go back and rest. An afternoon siesta is the only bong thing I practise.

7:30 pm: We were back at the venue for the awards. India opened its tally, and we were proud. That's where the work ended. And phew! It was time for the second most popular thing to do at Cannes, head to The Gutter. One thing led to another, and we landed up in a Japanese yacht party, strangely, most of the attendees were from Malaysia. There were people of all shapes and sizes and the coolest drone show to watch.

As we wrapped the night up, I called for my Tesla cab and signed off in style!

Abhik Santara is the founder of ^ a t o m.

Campaign India

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