Seen and Heard at Cannes Lions 2024 + Strategies for Survival Amid Change

At Cannes Lions 2024, AdMonsters spoke with a few publisher partners and buyers about what they foresee for the future of digital media and advertising.

At Cannes Lions 2024, the conversations were as lively and diverse as the French Riviera itself. Amid the glitz and glamour, we sat down with several leading digital media and advertising figures to get their take on the future. 

From exploring ID-less solutions to leveraging retail media data, the strategies for surviving and thriving in this ever-evolving ecosystem were as varied as they were insightful.

Geoffroy Martin, CEO of Ogury, emphasized the necessity for publishers to pivot towards ID-less solutions and alternative identifiers. “If you own your first-party data and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA, you will be able to monetize your data, and that’s what advertisers want,” Martin explained. This proactive stance is crucial as the industry braces for the end of third-party identifiers. 

Meanwhile, Oz Etzioni, CEO of Clinch, highlighted the importance of personalization, automation, and omnichannel strategies, underscoring the need for a holistic approach to integrating CTV into advertising.

Read on to learn what leading industry leaders from Ogury, Clinch, TransUnion, and more had to say.

Publisher Playbook: Winning Strategies from Cannes Lions 2024

Geoffroy Martin, CEO of Ogury

According to Martin (if you haven’t already), publishers should start exploring and implementing ID-less solutions and alternative identifiers in partnership with advertisers and technology partners. This proactive approach will help publishers continue monetizing their content effectively, considering that we will be done with third-party identifiers in the foreseeable future. 

Gathering and maintaining first-party data is, of course, a major focal point.

“If you own your first-party data and comply with regulations like GDPR and CCPA, you will be able to monetize your data, and that’s what advertisers want,” Martin explained. “When Google finally deprecates the cookies, signals from third-party identifiers will disappear. This will be a massive problem for publishers, giving them no options but to continue collaborating with advertisers and technology partners to work with ID-less solutions or alternative ID.”

Oz Etzioni, CEO of Clinch

From Etzioni’s perspective, publishers have a few options for survival. He suggests that publishers integrate personalized technology, optimize content frequency in partnership with buyers, adopt omnichannel strategies, invest in automation and AI, utilize retail media data, and focus on operational efficiency to enhance the effectiveness of CTV and retail media campaigns. 

Overall, publishers need to adopt a holistic approach to integrating CTV into their advertising strategy. 

“We are partnering with publishers to integrate everything into one, let’s call it activation,” Etzioni said. “CTV is becoming another channel. They’re also starting to venture into more formats like display and video on the opening home screen. It’s not just pre-rolls anymore. In terms of frequency management, we are working with publishers by taking the same ad and creating different variations and stories behind it. That way, a user will not see the same annoying ad 25 times. 

Michael Schoen, EVP/GM, Marketing Solutions at TransUnion

Schoen’s advice for publishers focuses on understanding consumer identity, leveraging cloud environments for data collaboration, and partnering with buyers and intermediaries to ensure the effectiveness of targeted marketing strategies. 

We discussed using GenAI to scale creative content and TransUnion’s pivotal role in providing data and measurement solutions for marketers and publishers. Schoen also schooled us on this concept of “Movable Middles,” which focuses on targeting consumers that are neither loyal to one brand nor competitors to drive incremental impact. 

“The concept of the middle is to focus on the middle, don’t target those folks who are really loyal to your brand because they’re already yours,” said Schoen. “Don’t target folks who are really loyal to the competitor either. One shows that investments in building your brand actually pay off in the long term and act like an annuity. If you can take a consumer and shift their brand loyalty, that will pay off long-term, and you don’t need to make this trade-off.” 

Voices from the Croisette: Insights and Anecdotes from Cannes Lions 2024

Lena Arbery, Associate Director Sales Tripadvisor 

“The key lesson from Cannes Lion 2024 is the importance of consistently innovating while staying true to your brand’s core values and putting consumers at the center of your brand. In a crowded market, advertisers must prioritize their end customers, who are the heart and soul of the brand, to effectively target and retarget them through every step of the funnel.”

Paul Wright, Head of International for Uber Advertising

“Anecdotally, we heard that out of a week of highlights at Cannes, Uber Advertising’s late-night pizza giveaway on the Croisette stood out as especially welcome. When our team helped serve them, they were certainly warmly welcomed by the event’s attendees! 

Regarding key topics, the rise of commerce media and commerce networks was undeniably dominant. Prominent brands across verticals, from our platform to airlines to banks, all came to highlight their commerce media offerings. Last year, the focus was perhaps more on pure retail media, but this year’s Cannes showed that commerce media offers distinct advantages. It can effectively steer consumers along their purchase path and empower brands to amplify their message across the upper and lower funnel.”

Simon Sikorski, President, Global Operations of XR Extreme Reach

A lot of companies are buzzing around sustainability at Cannes, emphasizing the urgency to move faster. The discussion is that advertising has an amazing role in getting the message out and helping consumers make informed choices when opting for sustainable brands and practices. Sustainability is not just a passion but a business advantage. Companies are moving from policies to measurable outcomes. The focus is on reducing storage, optimizing assets, and effectively measuring these efforts. Sustainability has not fallen off the agenda at Cannes.”

Connatix – Mike Caprio, SVP, Americas 

“Cannes is back, with a crowd larger than even pre-pandemic levels. While POSSIBLE this year was impressive and quickly becoming a tent pole event in our industry, the reigning champ remains Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Key themes of the week focused on the premium internet, leveraging data and other signals to enhance brand outcomes. Video and multi-device streaming continue to gain the most momentum, particularly through contextual targeting to expand audiences across CTV and OLV. Many emerging markets are looking to the US for guidance on transitioning from open linear television to streaming. And when it comes to the ongoing debate over generative AI, the industry is striving to find a balance across media, creative, and content sectors. However, a consistent outcome has yet to emerge.”

Peter Crofut, VP Business Development, Wurl

“In general, agencies seem to be pushing advertisers to widen the definition of’ performance‘. I found myself in many conversations with agency leaders both on and offstage, questioning whether we’re too focused on the lower funnel and ignoring the power of brand awareness metrics. Video completion, longer and more emotionally-invested attention agencies are making the case that these upper funnel metrics serve a real purpose and ultimately drive outcomes.”