IPG Reminds Cannes Goers They're On Duty

Ah, the many faces of Cannes. Awards. Inspiring talks. Wildly overpriced meals and other things. I remember paying more than $15 one year for a deck of playing cards. What can I say — this was back in the pre-euro days and the franc seemed like Monopoly money. (Right, math isn’t my strongest suit.) The playing cards? That’s another story.

Anyway, the festival in some respects is also party central. Lots of companies in attendance throw parties, after parties and even after-after parties. And of course, some of the bars attract attendees (as well as local devotees of the Cannes nightlife) until the wee hours.

And what’s a party in Cannes without some rose, Champagne or even more potent drink?

Yes, some people have been known to get a little carried away, and the Interpublic Group issued a memo to the troops this week reminding them in so many words that while it’s a bit of boondoggle, it’s still work, and appropriate behavior is expected at all times. It was definitely the smart thing to do.



The memo came from Joe Kelly, IPG’s senior vice president, talent. It’s a reminder that IPGers participating at the festival represent the company at all times. Partying no doubt is part of the celebratory nature of the festival, but it is not an excuse for bad behavior that disrespects others.

Rather than blather on at length about the memo’s contents, here it is in its entirety:

“We work in a great industry – the people, the work, the places our business takes us. We interact with smart, creative individuals, whether they’re our colleagues, partners or clients. We spend time with these people in our offices, at conferences and social gatherings, travel destinations, and via social media.  No matter where we are engaging with each other, however, we must always act responsibly and with the utmost respect for one another. 
Now is a good time to remind ourselves of these obligations, especially on those occasions, like the Cannes Festival, where you are traveling, and away from the office. Remember that you are representatives of IPG and your agency – and that you should conduct yourself with that idea in mind, knowing that the industry is watching you.
When our work is conducted outside the confines of an office environment, there can be a sense that this isn’t quite work or that we can behave differently, especially if alcohol is present. That is not the case. In any of those situations, our behavior must always adhere to our company’s values and policies. Anything less is never acceptable. If misconduct does occur at a function at which colleagues, clients, or vendors are present regardless of time or place -- please understand that we will need to take action to ensure a respectful and safe environment for everyone. This action may involve discipline, up to and including termination.
All our people – and especially managers – must model appropriate behavior. Employees should exercise an abundance of caution when it comes to alcohol – remember, the Festival, like other industry events, is a work event, not a party. Everyone, especially managers, has an obligation to keep an eye out for each other. When someone is overindulging or engaging in inappropriate conduct towards one of our employees, you should intervene. That is true regardless of whether the person behaving inappropriately is an employee, client, vendor, or anyone else. We likewise expect you to intervene if one of our employees is engaging in inappropriate conduct towards anyone else. 
If you are subject to or observe any inappropriate behavior, you are required to report it promptly to your manager, Human Resources, or the IPG Alertline (+1-800-828-0896). Your report will not result in any negative consequences to you. Just the opposite – your report benefits the company because it enables us to address the situation in a timely manner and to keep others out of harm’s way.
Thank you in advance for your cooperation in this very important effort.”
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