ICYMI: 10 Advertising & Ad Tech Highlights From Cannes

Suppose you’re like the rest of my team and me, not in Cannes right now; you probably have a little FOMO.

Thanks to social media, we are all living vicariously through Twitter to see all that is going on, and boy is it is quite the fiasco depending on which world you delve into.

Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the most extensive professional gathering for the creative marketing community. There were many exciting and impactful discoveries if you’re in ad tech land like us. From the talks surrounding Google and Netflix to the yachts, which were back this year like they never left, the festival is undoubtedly one for the books. Especially with many people fresh off of quarantine times.

For those of you who are still back at the office, unable to be there physically, and too swamped in work to tap into social to visualize the happenings, we put together a list of some of the most important news relevant to what publishers do. Here are ten highlights from Cannes related to the advertising world.

1. The Yachts Are Back — Amazon and Tik Tok pop out for the first time

The yachts are yachting, and this year, some new kids are on the block trying to get in where they fit in along the Cannes coast. It’s no surprise that Amazon, given who they are, came with their big go-hard or go-home full-throttle energy. They didn’t pull up in a Yacht; Amazon has the entire Vieux Port de Cannes! They are also hosting a Twitch apartment space outside of the port area.

Tik Tok and Roku are new to the coast and trying to make their mark at the big fest. TikTok has a cabana across from the Palais, and Roku has a cabana near the Pointe Croisette. Of course, veterans of the festival Meta, Google, Pinterest, and Spotify were all there in their usual beachside spots. However, Amazon docking a fort is huge.

2. Addressability and Identity Were Big Themes

When it comes to solving ad ops problems, addressability and identity are at the top of publishers’ list. Like a Rubik’s cube, pubs have been twisting and turning to find color matches for addressability and identity. At Cannes, pubs were encouraged to shift gears from thinking about cookie deprecation as a bad thing and instead just find new strategies for solving for addressability.

“For publishers to thrive in a cookieless world, it’s vital that they seek a solution that places people and their privacy at its centre,” said Travis Clinger, SVP, Addressability and Ecosystem at LiveRamp. “We’re likely to see publishers and marketers forming closer partnerships as they start to work together on strategies that have addressability at their heart.”

3. Gary Vee Says Reach and Impressions Are a Lie

Welp, Gary had no problem letting us know how he feels, and he’s got a point. We knew there were shady things happening in the industry. (More like Meta misrepresenting ad reach for years than that Gannett flub a couple months back.)  A 20-year-old problem will most likely be challenging to alter.

On the flip side, engagement may be the real key to solving this problem. With the end of cookies, pubs need to consider that maybe attention metrics aren’t such a crazy idea afterall.

4. Netflix Chatted With Google About Their Ad Business

As the tweet says, Netflix has met with a few potential partners like Roku and Comcast, but Google is the biggest contender right now. Google makes most of its money from ads, and we all know they have the pipes so, of course, they have what it takes to steer Netflix in the right direction. Much of ad tech land was anxiously awaiting Co-CEO of Netflix Ted Sarando’s big panel discussion on Thursday, June 23, in Cannes. Ironically his appearance was scheduled before news broke of Netflix’s devastating Q1 numbers. Still, we are sure Soarando’s will probably update everyone in Cannes about how business is really going and maybe even who they’ve chosen as an ad partner. 

5. IBM’s Big Anti-Bias in Ad Tech Announcement


IBM announced their latest commitment to mitigating ad tech bias, and Delta Air Lines, WPP, Mindshare, 4A’s, IAB, and the Ad Council are standing beside them in solidarity. Last year IBM launched a research initiative to explore whether or not biases exist in ad tech, and the research confirmed that biases are more than prevalent. The study also discovered that as much as algorithms are at the center of ad tech bias, AI tools can be used to look at segmentation results to rule out biases.

6. 1st Party IDs Outperform 3PC in Programmatic Ad Campaigns

Adform used its ID Fusion technology to conduct research they released in Cannes showing that first-party IDs delivered more scale on programmatic campaigns. But ad tech Twitter is asking, “But, how Sway?”

The results reveal that utilizing the ID Fusion solution on an ad campaign contributed to a 669% increase in the addressable audience, and a 161% increase in click-through rates, resulting in higher viewability and superior eCPM.

First-party IDs had higher ad viewability at 80% compared to 75% for third-party cookie traffic. While IDs are being seen as one of many solutions to the end of third-party cookies, we have to be careful to test and test again. As one Twitter user responded, when it comes to testing ID solutions, there are good results out there in the wild but there are also caveats-on-caveats.

7. 40 Activist Climed CannesPalais Des Festivals

The activists never come to play. This instance reminds me of the two women who protested the recent abortion speculations by removing their clothes during a Joel Olsteen church service. When they come, they always make a large statement. This time Greenpeace France activists pulled up in a fire truck in hopes of symbolizing the burning fossil fuels that contribute to the intense amount of global heating that we see today. They requested that ad firms cut ties with the fossil fuel industry altogether, as parts of Europe have been flaming hot this week.

Greenpeace activists are pushing a European Citizen’s Initiative (ECI) petition that calls for an end to fossil fuel ads and their sponsorship in the EU. The way the EU has been looking out for its civilians lately by protecting their privacy and going after big tech, these activists just may end up getting what they are fighting for.

8. Gen Z’s Significance to Future Brands

We knew that the kids were the future after discovering all the new things they were doing with social media during the heart of the Pandemic. Shutterstock isn’t the only platform targeting Gen Zers; Tik Tok is their platform of choice without even trying.

“If you want to reach Gen Z consumers, it’s got to be part of your portfolio,” says Chris Brandt, chief marketing officer of Chipotle Mexican Grill Inc. The chain says it has doubled its spending on TikTok each of the past three years. TikTok could very well become the next big platform, given the way Meta’s ad revenue has been falling off lately. Plus, there’s lessons upon lessons here for publishers looking to court this market.

9. 5 Tech Giants Receive More Than Half of Global Ad Spend

These five tech conglomerates are always apart of the conversation, and yes many pubs and advertisers went to Cannes knowing this fact and will also leave Cannes with the thought of it in the back of their heads. According to Group M’s prediction, 2022 is already over for any pub hoping to knock any of these five out of their top spots, especially with open internet supply becoming more concentrated.

10. There Were Many Calls for More Diversity


If we’ve said it once, we’ll say it again, diversity is good for business.