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Case Study: How BizBash and Hubilo Are Teaming Up to Activate on a Yacht at Cannes Lions

The first-of-its-kind experience will offer top-tier education, networking opportunities and VIP experiences for event professionals from leading brands. Here's how we're pulling it off.

Yachts in Cannes, France, for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
BizBash and Hubilo's yacht-based activation will be docked in France's Cannes Harbour during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in June. The event is largely considered the world's most significant gathering for marketing and advertising professionals.
Photo: Travel-Fr/Shutterstock

CANNES, FRANCE—At BizBash, we always try to practice what we preach—and sometimes, that means creating our own out-of-the-box events and activations meant to bring the event community together in unique, innovative ways.

From June 20-24, we’re embarking on one of our most ambitious undertakings yet: a luxury, yacht-based activation at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France along with our partner, leading event technology platform Hubilo. The BizBash and Hubilo yacht will be docked in a prime location in Cannes Harbour, and will offer a relaxing and inspiring place for event and marketing professionals from top brands to connect throughout the week with networking opportunities, shared meals, top-tier education sessions, entertainment and more.

A Natural Partnership
The team-up between BizBash and Hubilo felt like a natural fit for both brands. “With a shared audience of event professionals and a shared focus on driving our industry forward, the opportunity to partner on a next-level experience at Cannes felt like a no-brainer,” explains Cathy Song Novelli, Hubilo’s chief marketing officer. “I am so excited to partner with our friends at BizBash to bring best-in-class thought leadership and VIP experiences to France for our beloved event community.”

Michela Giovannotto, BizBash’s director of brand experiences, agrees. “Our two organizations share the same goals of producing meaningful content and engagement for event professionals. Hubilo's forward-thinking event technology makes them the perfect partner to embark on this exciting new pillar of our business," she says.

Sparking Conversation and Community
BizBash founder and chairman David Adler points out the importance of these types of exclusive, conversation-sparking experiences—particularly with the Cannes Lions audience of top marketing professionals. "We are so excited that event strategy is becoming a 'must-have' rather than a 'nice-to-have' in the world of marketing," he says. "Having Hubilo front and center in the marketing creativity world propels the events industry to new heights.”

The yacht from Ocean Five Yachts & Events will be able to host as many as 50-75 people for programming and events. It will be playfully dubbed “The Hubilo Retreat,” and will be inspired by both Hubilo’s creative identity, color palette and geometric logo, along with the sights and sounds of the French Riviera. Panels, meals, receptions and entertainment—like classic games, scent labs, wine tastings, local DJs and more—will keep guests moving and connecting throughout the space, with the flexible layout changing based on programming needs.

Overall, the yacht is intended to be an eye-catching space for attendees to recharge, reconnect and have thought-provoking conversations about the state of the event and marketing industries.

“We hope by combining technology, content and creativity, we will immerse attendees in a place where they feel comfortable making meaningful connections,” says Giovannotto. “We can only imagine how much work goes into the festival. We want to invite the BizBash and Hubilo audience to a relaxing environment that is a place for event professionals to celebrate their accomplishments and retreat after months of preparation."

She adds: "We hope that everyone will walk away from this experience feeling inspired about the future of events.”

A Hybrid Experience
In a unique touch, Hubilo’s technology will also be used to enhance the experience—and keep the conversations going long after the festival wraps. “Hubilo will extend our in-person Cannes content virtually to the broader events and BizBash community via the Hubilo platform,” explains Novelli. “We will also syndicate a lot of video cuts and transcribed content on-demand after Cannes to democratize the valuable thought leadership shared.”

Novelli notes that this chance to bring people together—both in-person and virtually—is what has her excited about the experience. “I’m most excited to be in-person with fellow marketing and event leaders in Cannes, after years of missed networking in real life!” she says, adding, “I’m equally excited to bring these valuable Cannes experiences to those who cannot make it in person—something that has rarely been done with Cannes content in past years. Our biggest goal for the week will be to connect, inspire and further define the future of events with this influential community.”

Standing Out During a Busy Festival
Of course, planning a yacht-based activation from half a world away is no easy feat. To help, BizBash and Hubilo have enlisted award-winning marketing and event agency BMF, whose team has extensive experience activating at the busy festival.

“Activating at Cannes Lions creates some very exciting but also challenging obstacles," explains Giovannotto. "When choosing to put this experience together, we knew that we needed to bring in a partner that could help us to actualize all of our combined goals—and BMF's creative resources make them a great partner to make this co-branded experience a success.”

The BMF team explains that the environment of Cannes Lions can be a bit frenetic for guests due to the vast array of activities and events. With The Hubilo Retreat, the goal is to break through the noise. "Through high-end hospitality and forward-thinking yet purposeful programming, this rejuvenating space for festival attendees pays homage to the art, scents, sounds and tastes that define both classic and contemporary Côte d’Azur lifestyle," says the BMF team.

To create a successful experience, BMF is focusing on understanding the guest journey—as well as the venue's capabilities. "For any yacht activation, it is important to address any outdoor elements such as wind that may disrupt styling elements, or heat that requires shaded and cool-down moments," explains the team, adding that it's also been important to think about constraints like limited kitchen and catering facilities, the requirement for guests to remove their shoes and whether there's any permanent bolted-down furniture to consider. Their solution? "Highly considered floor plan development and detailed guest experience planning, as well as some cleverly placed custom design elements and expert vendor partnerships," they say. 

Ultimately, the BMF team adds, the goal is to break through the noise of a busy festival like Cannes Lions by leaning on strong relationships, appealing programming and a targeted promotion plan—and then laser-focusing on making sure every event touchpoint is carefully considered and executed.

"We know that Cannes attendees are some of the most sophisticated and discerning guests when it comes to brand events," they say. "Ensuring all aspects of the experience, down to the smallest details, are beautiful, unexpected and authentically substantive establishes both positive word of mouth and a strong desire from this key audience to engage in the future."

Attending the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity? Fill out the form below for more information on how you can participate in our onsite activation! 

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