Choreograph attends Cannes

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insights thought leadership 06.30.2023

view from the rooftop: thoughts and takeaways from this year’s cannes lions

If you want a glimpse at the future of media, creativity, and its intersection with data and technology, it’s hard to beat the view from the top of the Hotel Martinez in Cannes. The GroupM Rooftop at Cannes Lions was a gathering of “top” thinkers in the industry in a beautiful, relaxed setting overlooking the glittering Mediterranean.

kristen fellows
SVP, marketing and communications

But it’s not just blue water and movie star sunglasses (though everyone looked great!), we really do get a lot of work done. Throughout the week, I and my colleagues at Choreograph — CEO Evan Hanlon, Jenny Cain, Krystal Olivieri, Lee McCance, and Jason Harrison — connected with partner agencies, tech innovators, and leading brands on our industry’s most pressing challenges and promising opportunities. And now that I’m stateside once again, I, like so many others, wanted to share my reflections on this year’s festival.

The four days of panel sessions, keynotes, fireside chats, and even some quick-fire TED-talk-style innovation sessions allowed us to hear and absorb the pain points and bottlenecks our clients and partners are experiencing right now, learn about the tools and strategies they’re developing to face those challenges, and dig into how we can help. Data and technology were part of every discussion: from brand to content to creativity, personalization and privacy, new and existing channels, and media platforms — there is no component of our industry that is not being reimagined with data as a core driver.

The dominant conversation was, unsurprisingly, the role of AI: How will these technologies be rolled out safely and ethically? How are platforms implementing AI across their various toolsets, from creative all the way to distribution? How can we distinguish the truly disruptive applications from the overhyped gimmicks? Are we all out of our jobs? Can AI attend Cannes?

Lee McCance shares his vision for the future of data in media from the GroupM Rooftop in Cannes.

In addition to AI, retail media/commerce was also a huge topic. On one side, it provides a new revenue stream for retail brands leveraging their own data and digital properties to attract advertisers. For advertisers giving closed-loop insight to sales, thereby helping to justify marketing investments — it feels like a win-win. In fact, GroupM expects retail media to grow 60% by 2027 — this is definitely a space to watch.

I noticed also that influencer culture was really asserting its presence in Cannes. The participants are younger and more diverse, not surprising given the heat behind youth- and diversity-focused platforms like TikTok and Pinterest, and their legions of young creators and influencers. GenZ will obviously be a huge growth driver for brands, and it was good to see them better represented.

Finally, I have to report there was virtually no discussion of the red-hot topic from years past — the metaverse. Talk about a fall! It’s a humbling lesson that the industry can’t be led by one entity, and new technologies must clearly prioritize value to consumers to be successful. I truly believe that data, supported by innovations like AI, is the foundation for an exciting future — the view from the rooftop is bright!


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