June 8, 2022 – 17:22
ad age garret sloan
A new group of internet advertising darlings are trying to park their yachts and lay out beach blankets off the coast of Cannes at this year’s advertising festival. Amazon, TikTok and Roku have all tried to make their official debuts at their annual marketing conference in the south of France from June 20 to 24 to succeed. Netflix and Apple are also sending people to the event, albeit in less visible footprints, according to people familiar with the matter.
In the months leading up to the Cannes Film Festival, big tech companies have poured in, and festival veterans — including Meta, Google, Pinterest and Spotify — have gotten their usual waterfront attractions, which are considered Cannes primary asset. Newcomer Amazon has a place in Cannes’ Old Port; the harbour is also where advertising technicians dock their yachts. At the eastern end of the festival, Roku will have a cabin near Pointe Croisette. TikTok is in a cottage opposite the Palais des Nations.
Technology has become a core part of the festival, with a wide range of topics discussed this year. Meta continues its pivot to the metaverse, and its longtime head of advertising Sheryl Sandberg is leaving. Google is retooling how ad tech works on Android phones and web browsers to comply with new privacy regulations. Amazon is getting into ad tech and taking over video streaming with games like Twitch, Freevee and the NFL on Prime Video. Meanwhile, Twitter is curious about a possible acquisition by Elon Musk, and Snap is developing its platform in addition to competing with TikTok.
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All tech companies will address diversity and inclusion in advertising and the economy of its creators. There are tough topics to address, such as measurement and data, as well as concerns about the economy that could affect how marketers spend their money in the year ahead.
With all that in mind, here’s a look at how big tech companies will make their mark in Cannes.
Amazon breaks down
“Everyone is talking about Amazon’s port,” said Jamie Gutfreund, chief marketing officer at influencer marketing platform Whalar. “They made it look scale and content.” Gutfreund said Amazon would be a big draw from a branding point of view.
Amazon also has a Twitch condo space outside the Seaport District.
Michael Kassan, chief executive of MediaLink, a consultancy that hosts numerous events in Cannes each year, said Amazon will push the action in the direction of the port’s new center of gravity. “All the sports are at the end of Ocean Drive,” Cassan said.
Netflix sets sales
The company confirmed that Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos is attending and speaking at the festival. Netflix was one of the most closely watched companies heading to the Cannes Film Festival as it announced plans to expand its advertising business this year.
The Cannes Film Festival was a great opportunity for Netflix to learn about ad tech providers. The Cannes Film Festival is also known for being the place where the industry finds talent. “Netflix is talking to a lot of people all over the place trying to attract salespeople,” said an advertising executive who asked not to be named. “If you’re a salesperson right now and you have a backlog, you’re a hot commodity.”
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Twitter is heading to Cannes at a delicate moment for the company as billionaire Elon Musk teases a $44 billion takeover offer that could change the platform’s business; if the deal closes. Some people familiar with Twitter at Cannes said the company wanted to take a break from all of Musk’s drama.
The Twitter team “loves the company and wants it to be successful, but he’s a wandering ghost,” said a person familiar with Twitter’s ad sales.
Twitter will be in attendance at Twitter Beach Shack and popular executives, including Account Director Sarah Personette, Global Culture and Community Director God-is Rivera, and Global Head of Content Partnerships TJ Adeshola, among many other topics to discuss.
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Meta has a lot of business to handle in Cannes, where Nicola Mendelsohn, head of the global business group, will be present. Meta will be staying at the Majestic Hotel, which has a beach in front.
The company is talking about its new focus on virtual worlds, including VR platforms like Horizon Worlds. Meta will also discuss creating videos and shopping on Reels on Instagram. It was also a turning point for Meta, as her longtime COO Sandberg announced she would be stepping down in the fall.
Google’s focus will be on its advertising platform, including how it develops its privacy protocols on the Chrome browser and Android devices, which will impact the mobile marketing space. Of course, YouTube is also a hot topic for the internet giant.
Meanwhile, Apple has also been shaking up the ad industry with its burgeoning ad platform and new rules on data collection by marketers, sending members of its ad team to the Cannes Film Festival, according to people familiar with the matter. Apple did not respond to a request for comment. The company is also under scrutiny in the industry, as its anti-tracking and cookie restrictions have changed the landscape for digital marketers looking to reach their devices.
Snap is back
Snap has reserved a spot at the Center d’Art La Malmaison, with CEO Evan Spiegel expected to attend, according to a Snap spokesman. The company is working with Vogue to bring augmented reality fashion to France.
Snap is also looking to boost its advertising prospects at a time when Apple and Google are rewriting how apps target and measure ads. Snap has introduced new products, such as the recently released Pixy personal drone camera.
Additionally, Snap avoided using the term “Metaverse” in its communications with advertisers, despite Meta’s promotion of the concept. “Snap is going to try to remind people that they’ve been in this referenced space ‘metaverse’,” said a social media marketing executive who asked not to be named. “He’s just got one hashtag and one brand right now.”
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Spotify has always been a must-see on the beaches of Cannes. On Tuesday, Spotify released its lineup of songs, including Anderson .Paak, Post Malone, Kendrick Lamar and The Black Keys. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek will be at the festival.
CannesTok, Pinterest and Reddit
TikTok made its official debut in a cabin near the Palais, the main conference room at the heart of the Cannes Film Festival. TikTok sent a team to Cannes in 2019 and held several conferences with festival organizers, but this year it will feel even bigger with its own event space. The app brings its marketing team together to discuss creators, creativity and brand safety, all important topics for advertisers on social media. Blake Chandlee, President of Global Business Solutions, TikTok; Sofia Hernandez, Head of Global Commercial Marketing, TikTok; and Adrienne Lahens, Global Head of Operations, TikTok Creator Marketing Solutions, are ready to join.
In addition, Pinterest will once again operate the marina at Carlton Beach. Pinterest will try to use trends on its platform to inspire creativity. He focuses on a diverse roster of creators, providing festival-goers with style ideas – from makeup to nails, hair and tattoos. Marketing director Andréa Mallard is expected to be in attendance with other Pinterest executives.
Reddit CEO Steve Hoffman is also expected to attend this year. Reddit is opening what it calls the Reddit Explorers Club, where the company will try to teach marketers how to navigate the site’s entire community.
Roku and CTV
It’s Roku’s first major Cannes debut, and it will have a cabin, signaling the growing presence of connected TV in advertising. Roku plans to discuss original programming, streaming and e-commerce, and ad creative.
Meanwhile, major TV networks including Fox, Paramount, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. Discover are holding mini-summits in Cannes. These networks collaborate through a consortium called OpenAP. They will discuss the need for common measurement standards, an ongoing challenge in connected TV. Ad tech, identity and measurement companies including LiveRamp, Amobee, Magnite and Nielsen are expected to attend the TV Advanced Advertising Summit on June 23.
ad tech yacht
Yachting is back, but ad tech is a bit frugal this year. Many yachts have co-sponsors to split the bill. Video advertising platform Innovid is hosting a yacht with measurement firm Comscore and other co-sponsors including celebrity video messaging service Cameo. Social media marketing technology platform Smartly.io has a yacht with attribution platform DoubleVerify. Data platform Experian and identity services firm MediaWallah are co-captains of a yacht.
“Clients are talking about sharing this year,” said Lana McGilvray, CEO of marketing strategy firm Purpose Worldwide. “The general feeling is that people are more apprehensive as they approach Cannes because brands may not go as far as they have in the past.”
Lyle Underkoffler, chief marketing officer at Smartly.io, said the yachting scene in Cannes is seen as a gathering place, but it’s about sharing “thought leadership” when it comes to marketing and innovation. “We’re trying to build a bridge between new media and old media,” Underkoffler said. “The Cannes Film Festival is the perfect opportunity for these collisions.”
The creative economy is expected to be in full swing in the south of France. Influential agency Influential will have a yacht where it will host content for speakers and parties, including high-profile content from TikTok, Meta, Twitter, NFL, Ad Council, Bustle, NTWRK, Vizio, Group Black, The Martin Agency and Mindshare Tube group discussion. Creators such as Cameron Dallas, Ugo Mozie and Anthony Alcaraz will also be in attendance.