Cannes viewpoint: Exciting developments for Athar Festival

Athar Chairman Ian Fairservice talks McDonald's, Athar, Campaign and more in the South of France

Mohamed Al Ayed, Vice Chairman of Athar with Ian Fairservice, Chairman.

Certainly for me, a couple of standouts have been, firstly the McDonald’s presentation which stood out by reminding organisers not to have three senior executives from the same company on stage together, without an independent moderator.

The result is basically a lovefest or to put it another way, senior management marking their own homework.  For a company such as McDonald’s which specialises in takeaways, unfortunately there were few.

On the other hand, the Saudi tourism speaker, chief executive officer Fahd Hamidaddin captivated his audience with a colourful overview of tourism opportunities and ambitions for the kingdom.

In this case, it was exactly what it said on the box, something to introduce people, or remind others, that Saudi has an incredible wealth of culture and touristic opportunities to discover.

I don’t think audiences mind presentations such as this all-positive message when that’s clearly what was intended.

Cannes is famous not just for its awards and presentations, but obviously as, a social, partying Mecca – and none of the more than 50 guests who attended Val Morgan’s 10th anniversary luncheon on Ille Marguerite yesterday went away disappointed. CEO Damian Keogh and his team once again hosted the perfect Cannes lunch in pretty much the perfect setting.

Excellent results

This week’s financial pages have been heralding a share bump for Ascension based in part on the very excellent results of this year’s festival.

Record revenues in terms of delegates and awards – and overall, another well deserved victory for this, now 71-year-old institution that is Cannes … Long may it continue.


Today, together with our partners TRACCS from KSA, Motivate Media Group hosted our own business breakfast introducing many exciting developments for the 2024 ATHAR, Saudi Festival of Creativity.

Straight after that, on to a Campaign lunch with our colleagues from Haymarket, and an opportunity to catch up and talk all-things-advertising, marketing, and well, everything Campaign stands for,  over a lovely lunch at the Carton Tower beach – All in all, this has got to beat working for a living.
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