Cannes Lions 2019: Yacht watch

CANNES — In the fine nautical tradition of Cannes Lions, a host of media companies have once again this year sunk a fortune into yachts to dazzle, entertain and inebriate festival-goers.

While the talks and presentations for the ad and media conference at Le Palais des Festivals in Cannes are focused on topics such as creativity, diversity and authenticity — just steps outside at the Port du Cannes marina, everyone else is focused on which company has the biggest, flashiest yacht with the most toys, the biggest celebrities on board and the wildest parties planned.

This year’s gleaming Cannes Lions yacht line-up mostly features tech companies, along with returning favorites like the iHeartMedia yacht, and some relative newcomers floating in such as CBS Interactive.

However, the undisputed winner of Cannes Lions Yacht Watch 2019 is none other than Washington Redskins owner Dan Snyder who roared up in his astonishing $180 million, 93 meter, brand new 3,000-ton Feadship yacht, which is so big (a football field in length) it couldn’t even fit in the Port du Cannes, and has instead been parked up alongside the sea wall.

Snyder’s yacht, the Lady S, was delivered late last year and is the only yacht on the planet with an IMAX cinema inside. She also boasts a jacuzzi and pool on the deck with a glass bottom, a basketball court, a Turkish bath, library and a huge helicopter pad.

Snyder started his career by setting up an ad company, Snyder Communications LP, with his sister in 1989. It was a success and in 2000 the company was sold to Havas in a deal said to be worth more than $2 billion. Snyder’s personal share from the sale was estimated to be $300 million. Snyder and his private equity firm Red Zone Capital Management has done pretty well since, so a $180 million for a yacht may seem mere pocket change.

Other veritable vessels lining up at Cannes Lions include the colossal catamaran Hutiane, 31 meters long with a mast height of 40.4 meters. The boat — which rents for up to $80,000 a week in high season — has been chartered by Smar+ , a programmatic platform for premium media companies.

Smar+ execs planned a big bash on board Tuesday night (capacity at dock is around 100 people) and a cruise later this week for select clients. Total cost for the week, 200,000 Euro, we’re told (or $223,000), so we hope they get some business done.

Directly next door is digital advertising infrastructure company Rubicon Project’s 35.2-meter luxury yacht OBO, currently on sale for $7.5 million. Despite the appearance of excess — and a worryingly wobbly gangplank (it is only a matter of time before a hard-partying Cannes connoisseur ends up in the drink) — company execs say its worth the investment because of the meeting spaces on board and the ability to put up five staff, as well as to take clients cruising.

Accenture Interactive blew the budget on the 35-meter classic motor yacht Accama built by Benetti, featuring three decks, an outdoor jacuzzi and coal flame fireplaces. Charter fees cost up to $90,000 a week in high season, but Accenture was totally on board with that. The firm celebrated its 20th anniversary with a big party on board and fireworks on Monday.

While CBS News has been hit by budget cuts, squeezing some talent salaries, CBS Interactive is totally paying to play at Cannes. They chartered the classic 44.5-meter mega-yacht Costa Magna, which rents for up to $100,000 a week. Yet CBS sources insisted the boat was being used to meet with clients rather than to throw floating ragers.

One boat guaranteed to show Cannes delegates a good time is iHeartMedia’s luxury launch, the 1960s refitted 52-meter expedition mega-yacht Dionea, which features multiple decks for partying, relaxing, or taking in one of their performers. It charters for up to $90,000 a week in high season, but perhaps most importantly, there are 12 toilets for those who have imbibed a little too much rosé.

Finally, almost blocking out the sun at the end of the dock, is British high-end property developer Nick Candy’s 63-meter Benetti luxury yacht, 11-11. The “monochrome masterpiece” features a stunning interior redesign and art collection from modern stars including Tracey Emin. But you are not getting on board without a personal invitation from Nick, unless you give him the requested $730,000 a week charter fee. No Cannes do.

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