Cannes Festival 2023 Key Takeaways

Published: July 6, 2023

Grab your Aperol spritz and sunscreen because we are headed to the French Riviera for the second time to review the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. Industry leaders and experts touched down on June 19 for five days of immersive experiences, networking opportunities, and of course, boundless creativity! In this recap, we delve into the most noteworthy takeaways, spanning topics such as artificial intelligence and the reign of influencer marketing. Strap in as we discover how brands can leverage these insights to maximize the impact of their marketing campaigns!

The AI-pocalypse

Are we surprised the topic of AI was hotter than the French Riviera sun? The sessions at Cannes were ablaze with philosophical debates, questioning whether AI hinders creativity or is a potent ally. George Tertois, the General Manager of Eidgensi, a creative media agency, firmly believes in the latter. He perceives AI as a valuable assistant that has the potential to enhance human creativity and reshape job roles within the industry.

Adding to the AI discourse, Paul Coggins, CEO of AI-powered company Adludio, shares his perspective on the profound impact it will have across all industries. He emphasizes that while humans have a vital role in the creative process, the undeniable acceleration of AI in all areas, such as “for design and delivery, operational efficiency, brand performance.” 

This dynamic interplay of the future of AI highlights the ongoing evolution AI plays in the creative landscape. As the industry continues to explore AI’s potential, striking a balance between human ingenuity and leveraging the opportunities it offers becomes increasingly essential for companies to thrive. Until then, we will closely observe the evolution of AI as it unfolds over time.

The Ad Waste Dilemma

Waste ad spending was another significant focal point at Cannes, spurred by the release of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA) report. The report’s findings shed light on the potential for brands to save at least $20 billion annually by steering clear of low-quality inventory, including clickbait, filler content, and slideshows that overwhelm pages with an abundance of display and video ad slots, often surpassing the actual textual content.

This wasteful spending phenomenon can be attributed to two primary factors: information asymmetry and misaligned incentives. The lack of transparency in programmatic pricing and media quality results in buyers unknowingly overpaying for subpar inventory. Concurrently, buyers themselves often prioritize quantity and cheap reach over the quality and effectiveness of the inventory they acquire, inadvertently perpetuating their own exploitation.

Paul Roberts, CEO and Co-founder of Kubient, recognized the issue early on and took action alongside a team of tech innovators. The result: [K]AI. [K]AI stands as an AI-powered fraud protection technology with a dedicated focus on creating secure spaces for buyers and fostering genuine, meaningful connections with their customers. By leveraging the power of AI, [K]AI aims to revolutionize the industry and enable buyers to navigate ad spend with greater efficiency and confidence.

The Creator Takeover 

The role of creators has become increasingly pivotal in shaping the landscape of advertising campaigns. On the second day, prominent industry leaders, including established brands such as Walmart, Elf Beauty, and Unilever, discussed the imperative of harnessing the power of the creator economy to effectively engage with Gen Z and accurately measure overall campaign effectiveness.

These companies are actively gathering measurable data from the community to identify the influencers who can generate the most actionable results for their brands. Kory Marchisotto, CMO of Elf Beauty, highlighted their approach to working with creators, stating, “If you think about the creator economy, which is really how we operate with creators, we find the insight, and then we find the person who has that organic attachment to our brand, and we bring that to the market.” 

Samir Singh, Global Chief Marketing Officer at Unilever, expressed the need for comprehensive measurement, saying, "When it comes to measurement, I think that we have invented too many small measurements that benefit a particular medium- be it driving long-term brand power, awareness, etc. because if they’re being met, I’m less worried about the click-throughs and other such metrics." Singh further emphasized that for Unilever, a significant metric for their frontline program is to be unmissable, distinctive, memorable, and active. 

Adomni, in collaboration with Influential, plays a vital role in bringing this vision to life for brands. By seamlessly connecting creators with their followers, irrespective of their physical location, the partnership empowers creators to captivate the attention of passersby during their daily commutes through placements like billboards and other digital screens in the physical world. This powerful offline presence facilitates a stronger connection between creators and their audience, fostering a sense of closeness and authenticity that extends beyond the digital realm. 

“Aside from the buzz about creator marketing and AI entering into the marketing landscape, the two practical areas of focus that we kept hearing senior marketers talk about were measurement and creative best practices, " said Jonathan Gudai, CEO of Adomni.  “With privacy changes that are continuing to be rolled out (and will take center stage in 2024 with the cookieless web browser), marketers are grappling with the reality that contextual targeting will be the new norm. It will be critical to embrace new tactics that focus on the quality of the creative ads, refreshing the ads more often than before, and perhaps most importantly, the thoughtfulness of where the ad is playing and the time of day.  In short, marketers are going to need to focus on quality over quantity and test and learn more across many different ad channels.”

The Cannes International Festival of Creativity proved to be an astounding triumph, bringing together the brightest creative minds under one Palais. Within this dynamic gathering, ideas proliferated with an unmatched fervor, leading the way for cross-disciplinary collaboration! Until next time. Let the countdown begin!

Written By: Julia Cramer

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