As many of us get back into the work grind following Cannes Lions 2019, we reminisce on a week full of ground-breaking discussions, deals made over rosé, and late nights at the Carlton followed by pizza at Le Vesuvio. The festival of creativity sets the tone for innovation for the year ahead and below are just a few of the highlights we heard from the Croisette.


Media Sustainability – Over the course of the week, senior marketers from across the world gathered to debate the fate of the ad-supported internet. The internet has evolved swiftly to become the leading platform for marketers and agencies to communicate with consumers. With concerns over fake news and data privacy on the rise, many are concerned about striking the right balance between serving relevant ads and respecting consumer privacy. Many marketers feel that government oversight is necessary while others remain skeptical. All marketers agreed, however, that setting guidelines for where their advertising is displayed is necessary to maintaining a positive relationship with consumers. This was only reinforced by the DV/Harris poll which found that consumers are more likely to engage with brands that advertise next to content that is authentic (74%) and factual (70%).


Emerging platforms are hotter than the Croisette at noon – Connected TV isn’t just a buzzword anymore. With costs (CPM) skyrocketing and inventory slowly growing to meet demand, marketers gathered around Cannes, France to discuss their strategy for CTV and the future of TV buying in 2020. While the outlook is positive, concerns over growing ad fraud and brand safety on CTV prevailed.


Brands are taking data and targeting in house to personalize consumer experiences – Data fuels creativity. That is one of the main takeaways from brands like McDonald’s, Away, and Brandless. By using insights to connect with the community, marketers are able to launch new ideas and target more intelligently. From personalized drive-through selections to a travel book to launch a new product, data is at the core of many innovative brand experiences. Having realized this, brands are taking data decisions in-house. McDonald’s, for example, recently acquired Dynamic Yield to help personalize their app and drive-through experience. Now consumers will be able to select from recent purchases or see deals for favorite items when driving into a McDonald’s or ordering at a kiosk. We can expect more developments brand-side over the coming weeks and months as brands seek to create positive, brand-endorsing experiences for new and returning customers.


Diversity is centerstage – Walking down the boulevard this year, diversity abounded. From Inkwell Beach to conversations led by female brand leaders on the main stage at the Palais and the awards themselves, the message is clear: let everyone in. The advertising industry is finally taking action to be more inclusive to all. And while this is a huge step forward, more work still needs to be done around the globe.


Advertisers are choosing meaningful experiences over larger executions at Cannes (at least for this year!) – Gone are the days of the Snap ferris wheel and the enormous branding executions, advertisers from across the industry are leaning toward subtle branding and intimate gatherings with purpose. Event marketers are choosing dinners and private concerts to have more 1:1 time with clients and colleagues. Activations must provide a value outside of an Instagram photo op to ensure a high return on investment.


See you next year!



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