Comment: Cannes Lions return proves a hit with adtechs

cannes lions 22 terrace stage

The South of France is back en vogue with the Cannes Lions making its first appearance since that pandemic thing stopped the world over two years ago.

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2022, to give this glamourous bash its rightful moniker, saw the great and the good from the marketing, media, creative and adtech worlds descent on the sun-swept French city in their droves.

Cannes comments

And, if the early comments from those basking in the French sun are anything to go by, this ‘One Moment’ could be about to change everything.

Delegates joyously re-connected with long since last seen industry colleagues, struck new deals and discussed the big issues of the moment (sustainability, diversity, data, tech and brand creativity, etc), proving that there really is nothing like meeting up face-to-face…

Laura S exit beeLaura Stephens, Senior Account Director, Exit Bee

“The six priority themes this year at Cannes were sustainability; diversity, equity and inclusion; data and tech; brand creativity and effectiveness; talent; and business transformation. 

“There was plenty of content and food for thought on each of these, with many discussions focused on inclusivity as a blueprint for creativity; advocating for inclusive work and authentic storytelling.

“As always, there were sessions focused on talent and building the workplaces of tomorrow. 

“And there have been some great networking events for women this year.

“In particular I really enjoyed the Digital Leading Ladies lunch as it was great to meet like-minded females in our industry and also the PwC event for women in programmatic was great to learn about blockchain and crypto – and yet another great networking opportunity.

“The panel featuring industry leaders debating the role of creativity in the ‘Age of Expectation’ at the Dentsu Aegis Network Beach House on Monday was also really insightful, as was Say it Now talking about the ‘Future of Actionable Audio’ – while Ogury and Taboola both hosted great boat parties!

“I was a little disappointed when it rained, but there was plenty of sunshine. And plenty of business was done: Lots of great meetings and new connections made with brands, agencies, publishers, investors and other ad tech companies – it’s been fantastic!”

Simon Kvist Gaulshøj, CEO, AdnamiSimon Kvist Gaulshøj, CEO, Adnami

“It was great to see sustainability being addressed by the creative community at Cannes this year. 

“The Advertising Association hosted a session based on the notion that, by 2030, every ad would be a green ad; while Ikea focused on ‘building a global circularity movement’.

“Metrics also took centre stage – I was glad to see renewed focus not only on how advertisers can ensure sustainability – but also on how they must remove wastage in other ways, too –  with efforts to double down on the most impactful formats and platforms, and combinations thereof, in our rapidly evolving media landscape.”

James Prudhomme, CRO, OptableJames Prudhomme, CRO, Optable

“Everything at Cannes was full on: the yachts, the parties, the DJs…

Those who felt that this year would be more subdued were thoroughly mistaken.

“But whilst there was plenty of appetite to socialise, real business was done. Decision makers leaned in and engaged and – whilst data hasn’t always been the hottest topic at Cannes – it has finally found its seat at the table and on the cocktail circuit.

“There was also a palpable desire to collaborate – with publishers and advertisers talking data clean room technology in order to securely plan, measure and activate campaigns in a first-party world.

“At last there was a sense that privacy, security and trust do not hinder marketing capabilities – rather, they can power them.”

James Leaver multilocalJames Leaver, Founder and CEO, Multilocal

 “The standout takeaway from Cannes this year, for me, was the joy of the industry being back together and being able to reconnect with others.

“CTV was the star of the show. Along with the rosé, it was on everyone’s lips. That said, many were sticking to the soft drinks. 

“While quite a few beer brands took to the stage, there was a palpable sense that marketing in the era of wellness is changing too – with many sober curious out in force and seemingly coping fine without the obligatory glass of rosé!

“The truth is that real business gets done at Cannes. This year was no exception. Every meeting was meaningful and produced real follow up for the next few weeks that will turn into real business. Plenty of fun was had too, of course.”

Tom Jenen, Chief Revenue Officer, Brand MetricsTom Jenen, Chief Revenue Officer, Brand Metrics

“It’s been great to see people I haven’t seen in years – friends, old friends – who have all accelerated their careers and are now in really interesting jobs doing really cool things. 

“It’s fantastic that we all get to catch up on a personal level. After the past few years, it feels amazing.

“One surprise was the heat; it was intense and I’m glad I survived! But besides the heat, I was also surprised at how few publishers were there. 

“The Daily Mail yacht wasn’t to be seen, for instance, although sales teams were all out in force.

“Presumably there has been less investment from publishers this year. I suspect this has much to do with the economy and the fact that people are retrenching slightly.

“That said, it’s felt that everybody here is ready to do business. Everyone is keen to get out there and make things happen. Everyone has big targets to hit, too. 

“And if you’re going to go to Cannes, if you’re going to make that investment and take that time out, then you need to make it worthwhile.”