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Another year, another Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in the books

Domino Głowacka
Marketing Manager

Another year, another Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity in the books. While most people associate the festival with star-studded guests, there was plenty of high-level advertising discussion taking place as well, especially during a critical time for the industry. Here are some of the top takeaways from the week:

Adapting to a Cookieless Future

People are tired of hearing about cookieless. At the same time, industry leaders are quite convinced that brands are significantly underprepared and will get a shock when the plug gets pulled.

The Rise of Retail Media

This Cannes, a lot has been said about audience curation – which seems one of the most promising ways to help advertisers buy more qualitative audiences without compromising user privacy. Retailers, grocers, and more had a much larger presence in Cannes than in previous years, presenting their first-party shoppers’ data as the way forward. With data privacy as a major consideration to any strategy, using data directly from users’ purchases to serve them targeted ads has become one of the top emerging strategies. In a world where consumers are turning on ads where they feel like their devices are listening to them, ads directly based on what they are shopping for feel like a much more palatable option. Thus it’s no surprise that retailers came out in full force, and we should be seeing a lot more retail media offerings coming after all the discussions were had.

AI: From Uncertainty to Ubiquity

In previous years, people came to Cannes to discuss AI a bit from a distance, unsure what the future held. But that is different now that AI is everywhere, and that could be seen and heard day after day – AI was pretty much on everyone’s lips. After all, ChatGPT has become a household name, used for pretty much everything, which can be said for generative AI as a whole. More and more creative campaigns are using it, and just recently Toys ‘R’ Us debuted the first ad made entirely with OpenAI’s Sora. This is sending a very clear message to advertisers – if they are not taking advantage of AI, they are going to be left in the dust. From programmatic buying to combing through data, AI can have a hand in every decision and will be instrumental in seeing through companies’ post-cookie transitions. With plenty of conversations surrounding ethical issues and proper adoption, it’s clear that AI and its proper use is a number one priority for many.

Sustainability and Responsible Advertising

One of the bigger stories from the week was the unveiling of the Global Alliance for Responsible Media’s Global Media Sustainability Framework, which had many buzzing afterward. In today’s day and age, sustainability is at the top of mind for many brands, and strategies need to be in place to promote such practices. With so many top minds together at Cannes, discussions about creating a greener advertising ecosystem were quite common, with many executives and brands coming together to share their strategies. This shows just how important sustainability has become recently in advertising – it has quickly become a top priority, reflecting global trends and concerns, and it will be very interesting to see what is to be done with all the conversations and what was learned. At last year’s Cannes Lions, we recognized this as a key issue and have done considerable work around it with our own solutions and research.

Measurement Challenges

Finally, measurement remains a challenge, in particular, how to understand the campaign results holistically, considering that individual targeting tactics rely on different targeting and measurement tools and there is no easy way to reconcile it all.

Overall, Cannes was once again a hotbed of fierce discussion around the most pressing issues facing the industry, but was also a space for collaboration, where people look to the future and see potential and optimism. There will be plenty of ideas that will turn into action, and do not be surprised when the next big major development in the advertising space was spawned directly from talks at the festival.

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