Hemant Shringy
Jun 20, 2023

Cannes Lions 2023: Hemant's blog - we didn't start the fire!

The author who is part of the Health & Wellness jury at the festival narrates an evacuation experience

Cannes Lions 2023: Hemant's blog - we didn't start the fire!
It was almost midnight. Nine non-angry jurors, rather nine extremely merry jurors, happy after a hectic yet fruitful day of looking at an exhaustive yet exciting list of creative work were unwinding with some rosé and some personal stories about their two-legged and four-legged babies at a fancy and famous hotel in the South of France, hosted by their lovely jury president.
Suddenly, rather casually, a hotel staff walked up to them and told them they had to evacuate the premises immediately. 
At first, they thought he was joking. Partly because of his casual demeanour and partly because they had just started digging into their very delicious and very pricey entrées. "You must leave now" he repeated, still in his characteristic casualness. 
The carefree bunch then looked up from their decadent dishes towards the grand entry of the hotel that the guests staying in were rushing out of. Some were in their pyjamas, some in their robes, some with their little ones snoozing on their shoulders. That's when they decided to dash out, but only after picking up their half-full bottles of whites, reds and rosés (they truly were the 'glass half full' kind of souls). They first took a selfie right outside the hotel. Then when they were asked to wait on the other side of the road, they took a selfie there. And then when they were asked to get off the Croisette, off to the beach, for safety purposes, is when they decided to move on from there. After taking yet another selfie with the blaring firetruck. 
And then as it happens in mediocre horror movies, one by one the members of the group started to disappear (just back to their rooms in this case) with three adventurous characters coming face to face with the monster - more alcohol, at another adjacent iconic establishment. A couple of hours, a couple of drinks and a couple of inebriated monologues of mutual admiration later, better sense prevailed, and they decided to wrap up for the night. 
They met the next morning, surprisingly on time, and discussed how this wasn't the kind of fire they had set out to start when they first met twenty-four hours ago. 
P.S. No one was harmed by the fire caused by an electrical accident at the hotel, though the guests-in-robes had to wait by the Cannes Croisette for a little longer than they expected to.
The author is chief creative officer, BBDO India. He is part of the Health and Wellness jury at the festival this year.
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