In advertising, we pick up a lot of habits - "creative" habits, mostly - that we occasionally are and aren't proud of, depending on our mood and who's looking. The Cannes Lions becomes a magnifier of all those habits: there, trapped in paradise for a week, people don't just drink until 5 in the morning; they often smoke as if all the weight of the world depends on it.
"Last night I knew it was time to go home because I started chainsmoking," complained Shannon Stephaniuk of Glossy. "I hate smoking more than anything else in the world!"
I suppose I believe her. I've never seen Shannon pick up a cigarette, not once, and I smoke a great deal, which usually outs the casual smokers in party atmospheres.
Anyway, this Cannes phenomenon leads to a lot of semi-casual conversation about why we all started smoking in the first place, which naturally drifts over to quitting and efforts to get there.
This is why I started smoking (in earnest, not counting the flirtation I had in college when my best friend gave me a pack of Vanilla Dreams for my 18th birthday): to eke a promotion out of a boss who only discussed "the future" with his subordinates during smoke breaks. I was 19, maybe 20.
"You know what Gabriel Garcia Marquez did to quit?" began Draftfcb ECD Mark Fiddes, rather grandly, at a beachside luncheon for production firm Mad Cow. "Gabriel Garcia Marquez buried his last packet of cigarettes. Big mound. It was something he could walk by and look at every day."