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Cannes 2019 Takeaways – Digital Gabe
Digital Gabe
Cutting Edge Commentary On All Things Media

Cannes 2019 Takeaways

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Ok, nobody is going to be sympathetic when you complain about being so tired from a week of meetings, conference content, and of course partying on the French Riviera.  But as they say in Cannes, that rose’ isn’t going to drink itself!  Despite all the distractions on the Croisette, I made it my mission to compile some of the more pertinent takeaways from Cannes 2019.

  • Return of the HoCos: Even as you stepped off the plane in Nice you could feel the increased attendance and intensity.  After taking a year off in 2018 Publicis was back in a big way, and other Holding Companies like Omnicom and WPP sent more delegates.  This may have been an attempt to reclaim some turf after being encroached upon by the Consultancies last year.  This set the tone for a busier week than we’ve seen in recent years.
  • The Video Wars Heat Up: Traditional TV showed up in a big way this year.  NBCUniversal tripled their footprint from last year, and OTTs including Jeffrey Katzenberg’s Quibi were aggressively courting advertisers.  The general consensus at the Palais is that overall video spending will continue to grow, but some that money will keep shifting from the traditional networks to digital video.  As a result the networks are playing some serious D while many new services are trying to elbow in on the market.
  • Audience Targeting Black Eye: Remember when having audience data to target and retarget ad delivery was a good thing?  Over the past two years data breaches and digital privacy concerns have created a negative perception for a still-valuable marketing tool.  During a Facebook press event Sheryl Sandberg called it out when she said “targeted advertising is under attack”.  This is the especially true in Europe, the home of GDPR.
  • Snapchat Gets Real: Remember the infamous Snap Ferris wheel from Cannes 2017?  While it made for a great PR stunt, it really served no business purpose.  That’s a pretty good analogy for Snapchat’s business model back then – all show, no substance.  But now things have changed.  Snap leadership including Evan Spiegel and Jeremi Gorman were on the ground in Cannes taking client meetings, and their AR activation was open to all instead of a select few preferred partners.

I could go on for days with observations from last week, but I need to dry out and get back to my day job.  Au revoir!


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