Cannes Lions 2024: Adtechs, brands and marketers on what to expect


Next week the 71st global marketing powerhouse that is the Cannes Lions 2024 Festival of Creativity kicks off, with no shortage of big themes, issues and talking points to be addressed.

From artificial intelligence to grabbing peoples’ attention, and from diversity to sustainability, there is much discuss – and also to act on.

So what’s top of your agenda for the week ahead in the South of France?

Here, we have a taster from some of the world’s leading brands, marketers, adtechs and newsmakers on what’s top of their minds…

Anders Lithner, Co-Founder and CEO, Brand Metrics
I expect Connected TV (CTV) to be high on the agenda at Cannes, as more brands start to appreciate its power.

“CTV combines the best of both worlds – the familiarity of TV advertising with the accountability and precision targeting of digital.

“It’s opening up TV to brands who thought they couldn’t afford it, and enabling those that always could to augment and fine-tune their linear TV campaigns.

“There’s still plenty of education needed before it reaches its full potential, but I expect a lot of learnings to come out of Cannes.”

Mattia-salvi-aryelMattia Salvi, CEO and Co-Founder, Aryel

“I’m particularly looking forward to conversations around the intersection of technology and creativity at the event.

“It will be interesting to hear future gazing perspectives on how big players in our industry are fully embracing AR and AI to generate a host of new possibilities for creatives.

“Another highlight for me will be seeing campaigns and activations on the ground and having the opportunity to discuss the reactions to these. It’s an inspiring environment that sparks even more ideas for creatives.

“I’m especially looking forward to seeing how different brands are tapping into immersive advertising and I’ll be keeping an eye out for interactive campaigns.”

David Shaw, Co-Founder and CEO of CedaraDavid Shaw, Co-Founder and CEO, Cedara

“The release of GARM’s (Global Alliance for Responsible Media) media sustainability framework will be the talk of the town at Cannes Lions this year, marking a significant milestone in the journey towards a more sustainable media industry.

“The framework will not only set a new standard for accountability, but also inspires the entire industry to prioritise sustainability in their strategies and practices.

“This is a pivotal moment that could drive meaningful change and set the course for a greener future in the media.”

Justin Reid TripadvisorJustin Reid, Snr Director, Global Partnerships Solutions, Tripadvisor

“Cannes attendees should expect to revisit the topics of the last few years, as we adapt to the growing use of new technology.

“The ambition of this will be to discover the best technology on the market for overcoming the challenges faced in previous years, and those we face today.

“Last year, AI was at the top of the agenda and discussion was around whether marketers were even using it.

“This year, we can expect to see a shift in the conversation to understand how well marketers have adopted what’s on offer, and more importantly, the results.

“Similarly, we will move away from whether the industry is using attention metrics, and turn to their impact on media spend, and again, how successful they’ve been.

“It is set to be an interesting week, and I’m excited to get stuck in.”

Gill-HuberGill Huber, Managing Partner, Future Factory
“Cannes will be covering many critical issues, with what I hope will be a truly diverse representation.

“Three things that I think are critical: First, celebrating the power and importance of creativity and its impact, role and influence in the wider marketing industry.

“Secondly, ensuring that everyone travelling to Cannes has a great, and importantly safe experience. I’m particularly passionate about Timeto, which is doing important work to put an end to sexual harassment in the industry, so it’s incredibly encouraging to see that Cannes Lions has taken a proactive step by partnering with them.

“I’d advocate that everyone reads the Timeto guide before they travel –

“Finally, what is key is maintaining momentum when back to the day job and taking learnings and initiatives back to your teams so all benefit from this week, not just those who are there.”

Andrea-Ching-bloombergAndrea Ching, Global Head of Integrated Marketing, Bloomberg Media 

“At Cannes, AI will likely be prevalent. It will be exciting to see who is moving past fear and uncertainty to see practical, tangible solutions for how to leverage AI in a way that celebrates humanity and creativity.”

Peter_Wallace_GumGumPete Wallace, General Manager, EMEA, GumGum

“We need to drill down on solutions to replace the soon-to-be-gone third-party cookie.

“Yes, Google continues to stall on its promises, but the cookie will be deprecated at some point, and we need to plan for that.

“Indeed, however much Google prevaricates, we’re already in a place of heavily deprecated addressability, and we owe it to consumers to operate in a way that puts their privacy first.

“We have been arguing for contextual since way before cookie deprecation was a thing, and in an era where other signals of interest and intent are being dimmed to the point of invisibility, it has more to offer than ever, offering advertisers a way to target consumers with relevant messages in a privacy-first way.”

jason-warner-sbsJason Warner, Director UK & EMEA, SBS

“I am keen to engage with fellow attendees on how agencies and brands can adeptly reach and engage consumers using an innovative suite of data targeting tools that remove the need for third-party cookies, and how we can effectively communicate these advancements to our client base.

“The rise of the ‘curation house’ has significantly captured the attention of our industry, and I anticipate an in-depth examination of the integration of this new agency model within the programmatic ecosystem.

“In the past year, the digital advertising sector has markedly intensified its focus on mitigating environmental impacts.

“Consequently, the discussions at this year’s Cannes are set to be more forthright, with industry leaders committed to enacting essential measures to reduce emissions and improving the transparency and accuracy of campaign sustainability reporting.

“Ultimately, these strategic dialogues will converge on sustainability, reinforcing its critical importance in shaping the future trajectory of digital advertising.”

Bronwyn-Sweeney-mullenloweBronwyn Sweeney, Creative Director, MullenLowe UK
“I think the main thing on everyone’s minds this year will be AI. I’m hoping to see human creativity at its finest.

“What kind of great work can be made when creatives and brands come together?

“We’re all fighting for relevance and the winners at Cannes this year will be the work that made us think, wow, a machine could never do that.

“Small screens have become our main screens and our attention spans have shrunk. I’m keen to see how this has shaped the winning work.

“What are examples of influencers being used in truly creative ways and how have we made the most of the little bit of attention we get from people?”

gareth-holmes-seen-thisGareth Holmes, VP of Commercial Strategy and Media, SeenThis

“Pre-Cannes, I’ve been thinking a lot about moving images. Humans have an evolutionary predisposition to notice movement, from the days when we were predators and prey, and it is one we are able to leverage in advertising.

“Motion captures attention through an automatic mechanism called ‘attentional capture’, and that is why we can’t not look at videos when they are presented on screen – though we can easily ignore static images.

“So as we all head to the warm south of France, perhaps we should remember that we too are humans, and if we want to ensure our creative is viewed, we need moving pictures to capture the eye, and not outsource the process to companies who say, “but the ad unit was in view”.

“It is time to progress beyond static and embrace the science – nothing catches the human eye better than a moving object.

Ogury-Lawrence-HorneLawrence Horne, UK Country Manager, Ogury

“Cannes might feel like it goes by in a blur. More often than not, business leaders rush to get their diaries fully booked, network as much as possible and squeeze in a plethora of conversations in an attempt to make the most of the event.

“My number one tip is, pace yourself. Maximise your time and energy – which might mean you needn’t sign up for every late night party on offer – by not trying to be everywhere at once.”

“Planning ahead is crucial. With some villas far outside the main hub, having a well-honed schedule can not only preserve your energy, but also budget and resources.

“For this reason, Ogury has based itself on La Croisette this year so we are at the heart of the action, and easily accessible for our clients.”

“While your event planning must incorporate those important client meetings, it is also advisable to allow time for more relaxing activities that provide a more natural opportunity to network, such as running and yoga sessions.”

sarah-vincentSara Vincent, Managing Director UK, Utiq

“The two most important topics in digital advertising should be consent and privacy.

“If you are not thinking about how to incorporate these two foundational areas into your digital advertising, then you risk your future business success.

“Properly consented users are more engaged users, and more engaged users can bring better outcomes for advertisers and more time on site for publishers, which builds brand trust and loyalty.

“Let’s start to be more open and transparent with people, explaining the value exchange and respect for privacy that takes place when they agree to share their data in return for more responsible advertising.

“We need to secure people’s consent to let brands engage with them on their own terms, and only for as long as they wish that consent to remain in force.

“And, with 40% of the addressable market currently third party cookieless, we are not talking about a future problem. This is an issue today.”

Madi-Bachar-MGIDMadi Bachar, VP Global Sales, MGID

“AI will once again be the biggest story, but we can expect a wider range of discussions this year.

“Advocates will spotlight the power of AI to not only boost creative production and scale up communications, but also drive an accelerated flow of inbound leads into the purchase funnel. Meanwhile, concurrent conversations will likely explore challenges with AI’s role in spreading fake news and enabling easier creation of made-for-advertising sites.

“Other topics, however, will still see their share of attention. After Google’s latest third-party cookie deprecation delay, that will almost certainly include a focus on how the industry is responding and calls for better collaboration on developing privacy-safe alternatives.

“At the same time, an increasingly bright spotlight on social media ethics will bring deeper consideration of how platforms and the wider online landscape are changing.”

Amir Rasekh, Managing Director, Nectar360
I believe 2024 will be the year retail media dominates the conversation at Cannes.

“It’s a market that has been building for more than 10 years now, but has only recently gained the prominence it deserves and is expected to make up one-fifth of worldwide digital ad spend this year.

“Why? Well, it’s such a powerful way to connect customers with their favourite brands.

“Retailers have a depth and breadth of customer insight, based on what customers actually buy, and retail media enables brands to engage customers and potential customers with personalised advertising however they choose to shop with a retailer.

“And as brands gain a better understanding of how retail media works, it has evolved from a lower-funnel, tactical play, into fully-fledged 360-degree activations across the full customer journey, both online and in-store.”

Virginie-Dremeaux-freewheelVirginie Dremeaux, VP, Marketing & Comms, Intl, FreeWheel 

 “Sports advertising will be a catalyst for many of the conversations in Cannes this year, driven by a summer schedule packed with some of the most anticipated global sporting events.

“One billion people worldwide are expected to watch the Paris Olympic games, reflecting how live TV remains a powerful medium for advertisers to connect with passionate audiences in a context of positive brand association.

“This year, the entire Olympic programming will be streamed live for the first time. As more live sports events move onto streaming platforms, not only are millions of simultaneous impressions made available through programmatic, but a greater variety of brands can unlock a bigger pool of content.

“Attendees will be keen to learn more about how to expedite access to this valuable inventory and how creative can align with the dynamic environment of sports advertising.”

fern-potter-multilocalFern Potter, SVP Strategy and Partnerships, Multilocal
Responsible media is hot, and quite rightly so. Increasingly, we are seeing words turned into action, strategy into activation and purpose into programmatic.

“More than ever, our conversations are focussed around inclusivity, carbon reduction and consent. As they should be.

“There is a lot to be done on the data to get us there; it’s completeness, efficacy and source of truth, to allow for the strategic vision of advertisers to be translated into activation of advertising campaigns.

“We must look forwards and outwards to improve the way novel technology can be leveraged to answer to our client and consumer needs, which is thrilling, as there is enormous potential to deliver responsible marketing initiatives with the suite of ad tech solutions available today – we need changemakers to employ them.

“At Multilocal, we find audiences and curate them based on our customers’ appetite for quality and content, delivering performance at scale by accessing a universe of supply in every market globally, with sustainability as standard.”

sam-yates-jellyfishSam Yates, Chief Solutions Officer, AI Studios, Jellyfish

AI will no doubt be to the fore in Cannes, especially given Apple’s ChatGPT announcement.

“Clearly, AI has a big future in all aspects of advertising, but I would like to see more discussion at the festival around its part in the creative process.

“There has been much scaremongering about AI taking people’s jobs, but in the creative sphere, I believe AI has a big part to play in helping creatives be more, well, creative.

“On one level, AI can obviously help with the research process and the analysis of huge amounts of data.

“But it can also help in automating the process of taking a central creative idea and repurposing it in dozens, hundreds, even thousands of different ways to satisfy the needs of different channels, platforms and target audiences.

“That will save creatives’ time and free them to do what they do best – create.

“AI won’t automate the processes entirely, but I hope creatives attending this year’s Cannes – and let’s not forget that its full name is The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity – will leave feeling less worried and more enthused about how AI can help in the creative process.”

Mateusz-Rumiński-rtbMateusz Rumiński, VP Product, PrimeAudience

“Cannes Lions serves as a showcase for the latest technological advancements and creative applications.

“It provides a platform for sharing best practices and successful case studies, enabling participants to learn and implement cutting-edge techniques in their future campaigns.

“The industry continues to overcome the challenges related to the transition into the cookieless world, and the event will be an opportunity to discuss the complexities of managing diverse technologies and tools required for different environments, devices, and campaign goals.

“Creative professionals must stay ahead with the advanced advertising technologies on offer in order to remain competitive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

“Another key topic at the festival will be the transformative role of AI in the industry, and its importance in reducing the burden on marketers in the long run.

“It is vital that we discuss the impact it plays in streamlining the campaign creation process, while ensuring that brand messaging still resonates with individual consumers.

“Cannes Lions will provide the industry with a chance to work collaboratively to build connections across creative and tech teams to leverage AI effectively.”