The conference for the advertising industry was not about to let a COVID delay (or three) dampen their spirits, putting on a Pinterest-worthy display of luxe for the Welcome Party, complete with a 27m ferris wheel.
Rosie Douglas, General manager of Business Events Cairns & Great Barrier Reef explained how the inaugural event, sponsored by Pinterest, was held to satiate Australian delegates who normally attend an international version in France.
“Cannes Lions is a global advertising, marketing, and media industry event that Australians in the industry couldn’t get to for the past two years due to closed international borders. The Australian representatives for the Cannes Lions, The Misfits Media Company, produced a version here in Cairns, and the conference was hailed as an all-round success for 2022.”
The sessions during the day were hosted by Cairns Convention Centre. Over 700 delegates experienced the fully refurbished Centre and the impressive line-up of speakers from the Australian media, marketing and advertising industry.
Former women’s world number one tennis player Ash Barty, executive chairman of Yellow Brick Road Group Mark Bouris, author, DJ, podcaster, TV host and founder of 'Flex Factory' Lillian ‘FlexMami’ Ahenkan, writer and filmmaker John Safran, and Australian Paralympian Grant ‘Scooter’ Patterson were amongst the many speakers on stage.
The event brief for the Welcome Party on Day 1, was to provide a uniquely Tropical North Queensland experience and wow, did Cairns deliver. Event organiser, and The Misfits Media Company co-founder, Dan Uglow explained how they activate their event sponsor’s participation in the event in unusual and exciting ways. Along with Pinterest, the event was supported by Nine, NewsCorp, Pubmatic, Ben & Jerry’s, Tug, Adobe, and Microsoft.
“Nine wanted to do something with impact, highly visual and a bit of fun. A ferris wheel in the middle of nowhere seemed like a crazy idea, and that's always the best kind of idea.”
The ferris wheel’s last outing was the Sydney Royal Easter Show. Normally home in Townsville, the wheel didn’t have far to go to the working sugar cane farm, just 15 minutes north of the Cairns CBD.
Ninety-five percent of Australia’s sugar cane is found in Queensland. In Cairns & Great Barrier Reef, three bespoke working cane farms can host unforgettable product launches, mesmerising open-air gala dinners, and welcome cocktail functions at golden hour as the sun is setting behind the Great Dividing Range.
By day, the farm machinery is doing all the work and by night, the natural dance floor is getting a workout under the stars (and alongside the dumplings stand!). Mr Uglow noted, “it was a chance for everyone to unwind and to quote Shania Twain ‘have a little fun’ – there were even some cowboy boots spotted.”
As the conference concluded, the group reflected on how the notion of the whole industry coming together briefly became a thing of the past. Now, they can return home with a “renewed sense of perspective, energy and purpose”, as Pinterest Australia and New Zealand’s Country Manager, Melinda Petrunoff aimed for when she opened the event.
“Between bringing Pinterest V-VIP, Ash Barty to the conference… to a Pinterest welcome party [that] I heard someone refer to as ‘Pinchella’ and an unmissable Pinterest Hub, I think we’ll … be reliving the week that was for a long time to come!”