Dana Maiman is president and CEO of FCB Health. 

Last year everyone talked about virtual reality and emotional storytelling. What do you expect to be the talk of Cannes this year?

Maiman: This year is truly the year of healthcare! The Lions Health festival is no longer just for traditional healthcare companies or agencies. The world and the entire marketing industry now understand that helping people live longer, happier, better lives benefits everyone. We saw this trend really take off last year and don’t see an end to its growth in sight.

There are still not many pharma executives who attend the festival. Is this a good or bad thing in your opinion? 

Maiman: We absolutely wish more pharma executives would attend. We do have clients who will be joining us this year and speaking on our panels. First, everyone needs to understand and appreciate the value of attending the festival, then everyone needs to make it a priority. Not only is it very expensive to attend, June is typically a busy family time – graduations, proms, and, yes, Father’s Day…and in this era of all-eyes-on-pharma pricing, trips to the south of France might not be viewed favorably. However, it is my belief that clients benefit greatly from attending the festival. They get to see and experience incredible work from around the world and be inspired and motivated to push their own limits (and beyond) creatively within their own organizations.

At a time when many clients are pulling back on their marketing budgets and some agencies are following suit, will any cost-cutting measures hit the FCB yacht? 

Maiman: Frankly, I was reluctant to initially utilize the boat for FCB Health some years ago, but its cost-effectiveness has been proven year after year. From early morning until late night, all parts of Boat FCB are utilized for internal team meetings, client meetings, press interviews, panels, partner presentations, new business events. The boat even serves as guest quarters for creatives whose work is awarded during the festival that we spontaneously invite to accept their lion. With the cost shared across the FCB network beyond health, the boat actually is quite economical, compared to the costs of renting space for all the above needs in the ever-increasingly expensive and limited hotel inventory in Cannes.

Does the FCB Health team have any Cannes traditions?

Maiman: Our Cannes tradition can be summed up in one word: gelato…often and a lot. We often have multiple tastings in a single day. Be sure to try the speculoos flavor!

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone attending Cannes for the first time?

Maiman: Remember why you’re there and see as much of the work as possible. You’ll be seeing some of the best work in the world before the world sees it! And try to plan your day around the speakers you want to hear. Because you’re in Cannes, have a croissant and an espresso from one of the food trucks on the water and sit there and reflect on how fortunate we all are to be in one of the most beautiful places on earth with our favorite colleagues and some of the most creative people in the world!

Gutter Bar, the Carlton Terrace, or the Majestic?

Maiman: No need to pick a fave; frequent all three and pull a trifecta, which means hitting all three on the same night! See you there.

This Q&A has been edited and condensed.