Live from Cannes


Molly Schweickert at Cannes


The rosé is flowing, the linen is out in full force, and Cannes Lions 2017 is underway.  The French Riviera has provided a beautiful backdrop for all the advertising industry members descending upon it this week, with its picturesque palm-lined roads and clear blue water.

I’m accompanied by our VP of Commercial, Richard Robinson, who has a difficult time walking more than 100 yards without running into someone from his past, senior brand marketers or those from the ad tech world alike. In addition to a slew of client and vendor meetings, I’m here for my presentation on “What Data-Driven Creativity Means for the Future of Advertising”. Hint: it looks like a future that is entirely de-siloed and doesn’t let all the 0’s and 1’s of data science squash true creativity.

And it is in fact one of the greatest trends being buzzed about this year at Cannes; the reshaping of the traditional agency model and how absolutely critical it is that the creative, data science, and digital teams work closely together.

Another aspect of note is that companies across the entire digital marketing space somewhat outweighed the agency presence, indicating a trend and transfer of power from individual agencies to these companies.

The presentation was held on the “Innovation Stage”, a casual and conversational setting focused on new ideas and methodologies drawn from practical experience – a standing-room only crowd that produced very thoughtful and engaging questions.

Here’s the premise: the advertising industry has changed so dramatically in terms of precise targeting technology, how media is transacted, and the entire approach to the ecosystem – but what has not fundamentally changed is our ability to communicate with people and understand how to connect with them on a deeper, more emotional level. Too often we find ourselves in our own little bubbles, dreaming up how we think individuals want to be spoken to, but not actually setting aside our own assumptions and notions and truly investing in research to understand the individuals we’re trying to connect with.

We ultimately see a future where the content and format of the communication we’re putting out to individuals is fundamentally different, and we’ll make progress getting to that point by setting up an achievable infrastructure where research, data science, creative development, and digital marketing seamlessly connect and share processes and information.

Here are our first ever Best Of awards presented by CA:

Best Yacht: OpenX’s palace of a Yacht was a peaceful oasis apart from the chaos of the Croisette.

Best Cabana: Radium One’s branded pink décor and cooler of frozen delights was a pleasure to all who entered.

Best Statement: the Snapchat Ferris wheel. C’mon, they put up a giant FERRIS WHEEL outside of the Palais.  We may or may not have confirmed that the views while riding the ferris wheel were delightful.

 Best use of linen: Jumpsuits. Everywhere.