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Since 1954, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has been bringing opportunities to creative and communication professionals all over the world. The main objective, of course, is winning Cannes Lions Awards, but in more recent editions the focus has been redistributed in the sense that attendees have more than just the one motivation for attending every year. One of those major incentives is, of course, the opportunity to mingle and network with other creatives while sipping on a glass of rosé by a private swimming pool. Advertising and media’s biggest players take over the clubs on the Cannes beaches offering endless drinks and food, insight from the most celebrated marketing gurus with beachfront panels, and last but not least, hosting celebrity performances.
The beach clubs on the Croisette are centrally located, highly-populated and, therefore, the most expensive places to host events during Cannes Lions. Today, as we continue our Expert Interview Series, Kyra Roest, the Founding Mother of The Embassy of Dutch Creativity, is sharing how she's been hosting a private beach club at Cannes Lions for the past 5 years.
Kyra Roest is a name that anyone who is anyone in the Dutch creative and communication industry will recognise and then immediately say something like, "Oh yeah, Kyra! She's so awesome, I love her!"
Kyra very well may be the busiest person in Amsterdam, as her current professional titles include the following: Global VP of Creativity at the Dutch Chapter of IAA, the Founder of the Dutch Embassy of Creativity, as well as the Founder and Owner of AD.Business, a Dutch marketing and advertising agency. Kyra is everything you might expect from someone who does it all and has an inspirational passion for helping people advance in the creative industry.
The Embassy of Dutch Creativity
The Embassy of Dutch Creativity is the Dutch creative trade mission taking place during the Cannes Lions Festival. Their mission is to inspire the global creative community with the Dutch spirit of innovation and entrepreneurship and Amsterdam's creative DNA: open-minded, multicultural and interdisciplinary.
As the Founder of the Embassy of Dutch Creativity, Kyra is in charge of running the whole show at Cannes Lions. Since 2015, Kyra has made some major advancements for the Embassy, such as securing a beach club among the famous Twitter, Spotify, Facebook and Pinterest beaches. For a non-profit organisation, this is almost unheard of.
So how did Kyra score such an incredible Cannes Lions party location for her fellow Dutchies? Well, it all started with a Heineken beer. We're not making a Dutch stereotype, we promise.
"Six years ago, I was the president of the International Advertising Association of the Netherlands, the largest advertising association in the world. We had a meeting one day, and I proposed that our chapter was missing out on a huge opportunity by not having a major presence at Cannes Lions. At the time, only the US, UK, and India were having major parties, and we needed to be there. I suggested that we have a 'trial run' at the famous Heineken House in Amsterdam to see how people reacted to a party directed at the creative community."
Needless to say, the party was a total success, and Kyra was able to guarantee a central location and great visibility at Lions within less than a year of her campaign. In other words, Kyra is someone you want on your events and planning team.
Due to the unbeatable location and unlimited benefits of renting out a private beach club at Cannes Lions, it's competitive and you have to act fast or you'll lose your spot. When we asked Kyra what her secret to hosting a successful Cannes Lions party was, she shared a bit of advice with us:"Start on time, make sure you trust the people you're working with, and make sure you've got local contacts - they really come in handy."
For any of you still looking to throw something together last-minute for Cannes Lions, we have a few private venues, party villas, and penthouses available. Send us an email at [email protected] for any accommodation requests, venue proposals, or general local Cannes information questions that you may have.
We were curious as to what the first order of business was when it comes to securing the private beach club for the Embassy, and Kyra responded with a 4-step agenda that anyone in the events industry can appreciate.
4 Steps for Planning Your Next Cannes Lions Party by Kyra Roest
Step 1 - Venues - Get an option on your venue as early as possible. We were back in touch with the Cannes Long Beach Club just 1 month after Lions to prepare for the next year.
Step 2 - Budget - Make an estimate for your funds needed. Because we're a non-profit, we have to raise funds from our sponsors. It's tough, but someone's got to do it!
Step 3 - Divide and Conquer - Divide up your tasks into chunks throughout the rest of the year, and stay on task.
Step 4 - Chase - In January, February, March, and April, we're chasing up on funds, speakers, sponsors, guests, etc., and we start finalising details for our event by the end of April and beginning of May.
Matchmaker at Embassy of Dutch Creativity Beach Club 2018
As the Embassy of Dutch Creativity exists solely due to the generous funds and support of sponsors who believe in promoting the Dutch creative industry, Kyra and her team have a lot of fundraising to manage throughout the year. When we say a lot, we mean approximately 1 million euros for a week during Cannes Lions. This includes having the best location in Cannes at the Long Beach, food and drinks for up to 2000 people throughout the week, as well as merchandise, branding, and a whole lot more.
Through the impressive efforts from Kyra and her team, for 5 years now they've been able to organise a solid lineup at the Embassy Beach Club. Last year they hosted wine tastings, Dutch breakfasts (ever tried the famous toast with sprinkles, hagelslag?), a music x marketing matchmaking networking session, and much more. This year they're partnering and mingling with major agencies like PwC, Deloitte, and R/GA.
In order to have great speakers, you have to produce interesting content. When it comes to creating the themes every year for the panels, relevant topics and creativity are what attract the largest numbers. The Dutch Embassy of Creativity has a strategy behind choosing the content with the board members each year.
"The programme director coordinates the ideas and programme curation based on studying the trends and latest focuses of companies while thinking outside of the box. When it comes to choosing who will speak, it's a combination of direct requests as well as specifically choosing brands we want at the Embassy. This year, for example, we're bringing in an exhibition of the famous SO Awards by DuPho, which actually started in the Netherlands, to inspire creatives."
As the Founding Mother, Kyra's role by nature is one that includes looking after everyone's well being, all the while managing every little detail. Due to her inclusive nature, Kyra refers to herself as a "business matchmaker" and literally spends the entire week introducing people and getting them connected. If you stop by the Embassy of Dutch Creativity, Kyra will ensure that you've met the right people.
Musical Performance at Embassy of Dutch Creativity
When it comes to getting connected, these events are by no means exclusively for Dutchies. The Dutch Embassy encompasses the open-minded spirit of Amsterdam, and welcomes delegates from all over the world to experience Dutch creativity. According to Kyra, "only around 1/3 of the invited guests are Dutch, and the rest should be international prospects or guests from our global sponsors".
Did we mention that all of this work is completely voluntary? She and her team dedicate countless hours to the success of this campaign every year as volunteers. We asked her what her incentive was for dedicating so much time to this, and she told us "to provide a home for smaller Dutch agencies with global visions, to expand my network, and to making meaningful connections with people." You've got to have a big heart and be a SERIOUS people person to be up for a job like this!
So how does Kyra measure the success of such an important event that requires such a large budget?
"Brand awareness increases every year, as well as Dutch country awareness. It really helps that people know us, and our clients, colleagues, and friends are giving incredible feedback. People see great value in forming part of the Dutch Embassy. Every year we get more and more requests from agencies expressing interest in becoming part of the programme."
Panels at Embassy of Dutch Creativity
When we asked how it feels to be stacked up against some of the biggest players at Lions like Twitter and Google, Kyra laughed and said "They've actually been incredibly complimentary! Twitter came over last year and actually asked how we were able to always have such a full beach every year, and that felt really good."
In a few week's time you can expect the release of all of the Embassy of Dutch Creativity events on their website here. Get ready to experience Cannes Lions #likeadutchie, with an open mind, a creative spirit, and a cold Heineken in your hand.
If you can't wait that long to start organising your calendar for Cannes Lions, Subscribe to our newsletter and get the very Cannes Lions 2019 Party List first update on April 30th.
A very special thanks to Kyra for sharing such wonderful insight on how to host a private beach club at Cannes Lions!