The first live in-person Cannes Lions festival in two years drew huge crowds from the media, marketing, creative and tech sectors to discuss the latest issues and hopefully glean some insightful adland takeaways.
Data, diversity, sustainability were all high on the agenda, as were next big thing discussions around the attention economy, AI and a rapidly changing eco-system.
So here’s what some of the leading adtech companies who were in Cannes got from last week’s successful event…
Data privacy and marketing takeaways
Travis Clinger, SVP, Addressability at LiveRamp
“The deprecation of cookies and a likely recession loomed large over this Cannes Lions, and so a hot topic was understandably around how brands and publishers can keep revenue stable in the face of these challenges.
“We believe a key answer lies in having strong consumer relationships and being able to use the identity from these relationships to enable marketers to personalise the consumer experience and measure the success of their ad campaigns.”
Jessica Jacobs, Global Director, Partnerships & Growth, Incubeta
“A key focus from Cannes was on how the ecosystem has changed considerably – consumers want greater transparency on data usage and solutions that replace the heavily relied-on third-party cookie.
“Increasingly, companies need to take a closer look at what operational steps will be needed to make measurement more successful in the digital and data transformation era.”
Daniel Clayman, General Manager, Northern Europe at Xandr
“Third party addressability has remained the central focal point for Cannes this year – shifts in consumer sentiment, data privacy legislation, and media consumption, have resulted in a significant reduction in identifiable traffic.
“The best way to navigate these changes is through consolidation and a less fragmented supply chain, and this can be achieved with tighter, curated marketplaces that connect the buy and sell sides directly.”
Michael Nevins, Chief Marketing Officer, Equativ (formerly Smart AdServer)
“This year at Cannes, we saw publishers readying themselves to play a more central role in the future of adtech.
“As cookieless strategies continued to dominate panel discussions, first-party data and contextual targeting were hot topics, with publishers ideally positioned to offer solutions that place the user front-and-centre.
“Business leaders must start acknowledging the consumer as a key “stakeholder” in their company and prioritise partnerships that operate in a privacy-first way.
“This is why we’re seeing publishers shift away from monopolistic tech platforms and towards independent players that offer closer, more accountable partnerships that work for the public good.”
“In between NFT chatter and the creator-community making their debut on the meeting circuit were real conversations with buyers about more data collaboration and the right mix of ID solutions and clean rooms post third-party cookies.
“Now it’s a matter of making those conversations a reality before we’re back here next year and third-party cookies have officially been deprecated. Time is ticking.
“There were many exciting conversations around the role of data, specifically in the context of how to drive more relevant and measured campaigns. With many brands and agencies shifting (or already shifted) to holistic, audience-based models, there has been a renewed emphasis on measurement.
“There are concerns of potential recessions dampening pandemic recovery, making marketers increasingly focused on driving impact and demonstrating ROI to justify their spending.
“There is a strong interest in programmatic digital out of home (DOOH), being a channel that provides both the audience based targeting that brands want and the precise ROI measurement marketers need.
“The demise of cookie data was also widely discussed, and the opportunities that contextual, automation and optimisation solutions will provide in this space.
“With so many channels emerging as cookies become a thing of the past, notably DOOH, it will be interesting to see how companies adapt their marketing strategies to drive efficiency.”
Charlie Johnson, VP, International, Digital Element
“While it was great to be back at Cannes and see many familiar and new faces, it was surprising to me to see the industry focusing on short-term solutions for long-term problems that are set to cause seismic change.
“With the money being spent on quick solutions, and on half-full panels on yachts, it felt like the industry was enjoying the bygone era of creative and adtech.
“Looking ahead, we should be focusing on building lasting solutions to create a more responsible and ethical advertising landscape.”
Mark Pearlstein, CRO of Permutive
“Conversations at Cannes are further underpinning the fact that privacy is now non-negotiable.
“With consumers opting out of tracking and advertising at an exponential rate, advertisers need to develop responsible marketing practices that protect consumers’ data.
“Collaboration with publishers is key; in this way, rich audience data can be leveraged for relevant advertising without being tied to consumer identifiers.”
Andrea Ward, CMO, VidMob
“This year at Cannes we saw an increased focus on the need to link creative and data to drive better performing ads and content.
“This is becoming more important as ad performance is impacted by changes that have hampered our ability to target as effectively.
“Companies now dominating the Croisette are able to turn creative into a science, leveraging data at scale in order to meet business goals.
“Particularly within the creator economy, we are seeing an increasing number of luxury brands lean into new platforms and real-time data is a guaranteed must-have, if brands are to navigate what works on platforms that behave differently and to serve authentic, engaging ads to broader audiences.”
Diversity & inclusion
Emma Lacey, SVP EMEA, Zefr
“With the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) launching its Global DEI Charter For Change in Cannes, diversity, equity and inclusion was put resolutely in focus this year.
“With numerous global social movements bringing DE&I issues to the fore since the previous in-person event, it was positive to see steps being taken to continue making marketing a more diverse place.
“However, the WFA’s Charter makes it clear that DE&I has to be an ongoing and ever-evolving process. As an industry, we have to consider not only our own staff, but the audiences themselves.
“Though more diverse representation has been seen on screens in recent years, brands need to be considering whether they’re actually reaching diverse audiences.
“Legacy brand safety solutions have been shown to block large amounts of content related to more diverse audiences, regardless of whether or not it is actually unsuitable for brands.
“It’s time for the industry to take a more nuanced approach and harness sophisticated suitability solutions in order to reach these untapped audiences.”
Creative & Innovation takeaways
Stephen Upstone, CEO & Founder, LoopMe
“It’s been great to see so much creativity at this year’s Cannes festival, with advertisers dipping their toes into a range of exciting and developing channels.
“As we see the impact of inflation and the ensuing cost-of-living crisis increase, it is more important than ever that brands tap into channels that engage the consumer through immersive experience and storytelling to maximise ROI.
“Marketers will be wise to take the gamification, AR and VR trends to be impactful and relevant in an evolving market.”
Michal Marcinik, Co-Founder and CEO, AdTonos
“Cannes is so much more than a business event: it’s an opportunity to build in-person relationships beyond what people are buying and selling.
“It was a marathon of face-to-face meetings in a relaxed and inspiring setting, with industry leaders who expressed a big interest for one of the fastest growing channels in ad tech – audio advertising.
‘’Two things made this week memorable: the creative minds in attendance and the power of sound. What would an event be without live performances and music? The atmosphere and the people were buzzing!”
‘’Getting to spend time with industry professionals has never felt more important. Standing shoulder to shoulder, a glass of rosé in hand, and having the chance to connect – it gave us all a long-awaited boost of energy.‘’
Jürgen Galler, CEO and founder of 1plusX, a TripleLift company
“Solutions to address the digital advertising industry’s privacy and identity challenges were also a key topic at Cannes.
“There were discussions about how first-party data will replace the third-party cookie to provide privacy-compliant consumer insights, how advertisers can collaborate with publishers, and how marketing intelligence can enrich and expand existing first-party data.
“The development of AI-enabled tools that can increase reach by crafting similar audience segments from available data is one way of helping publishers better monetise their content and advertisers improve addressability — all without personally identifying consumers.
Next big thing takeaways
Paul Coggins, CEO at Adludio
“Unsurprisingly, conversation this week was dominated by the attention economy and the serious implications it has for competing brands and publishers.
“The understanding has been that attention is more than a buzzword, it underpins the nature of a heavily-saturated digital economy that will soon face a reality with no third-party cookies to target consumers.”
Wandrille Leroy, VP of Partnerships at Scibids
“The key trend we’ve seen emerging is how to do more with less. How to invest where it counts, with less available data, all while working to reduce our carbon footprint.
“The answer lies in AI, which is no longer just a buzzword, but the solution for sophisticated use cases that can help advertisers do more with less resources.”
Kim Aspeling, Director of Creative Production, A Million Ads
“This year, Cannes has seen a lot of talk about AI, in particular how we utilise the technology and data across buying and advertising.
“With the technology progressing in three key areas – making music, vocal tracks and AI voiceover – advertisers are looking to connect these areas for the first time.
“This is going to be a key future trend for innovation in audio advertising, and something that may surface in some of the awards this year.
Charlie Brookes, CRO of Octave Audio
“Digital audio companies were rife at Cannes this year. Advertisers were discussing how the medium continues to evolve, as well as smart ways to use its unique creative and targeting capabilities.
“However, for the industry to progress, first-party data strategies need to be strengthened to ensure customers are offered the most innovative and scalable targeting capabilities and audiences.
“As digital audio grows at pace, it continues to attract more attention from advertisers and technologists who can see it has a key role in the wider ecosystem.”
Oliver Lewis, CEO of The Fifth
“Cannes has confirmed what we have long known – creators will shape the future of creativity, disrupting traditional advertising as their cultural role strengthens across both real world and virtual.
“In the near future, we will see transactional campaigns replaced with partnerships as creators establish themselves as brands in their own right, boosting creativity.”
Natalie Bastian, Global CMO, Teads
“Cannes highlighted that the fluidity of video investment is accelerating, moving out of linear, into digital and CTV.
“Attention, which can measure multiple drivers in order to better predict business outcomes across screens, will be the key to really unlocking success here.”
Dominic Woolfe, CEO, UK, Azerion
“Overall, the best thing about being in Cannes this year is constantly being around a range of influential and like-minded people all in one place, whether it be from the agency, client or media side.
“Yes the weather and the rosé is nice, but it’s the diversity of the people from tech, media and marketing that makes it exciting and it’s great to see so many of our partners in real life again.“
Virginie Dremeaux, VP, Marketing & Communications, Intl, FreeWheel
“CTV combines the very best attributes of TV and digital video in one place, and conversations at Cannes Lions emphasised how strong a force this is.
“To meet the needs of this evolving industry in a way that benefits all sides of the premium video ecosystem, advertisers and agencies should tap into innovative solutions that promise to deliver scale, simplicity and efficiency – and most importantly, value to consumers.
“More than ever, connectivity is key to unlock the full potential of addressable TV and advance the evolution of the channel.”