Cannes Lions Recap: What Dominated The Conversations? Amazon, Of Course

"As Oath’s Tim Armstrong said, 'We’re ‘now in an era of industries merging versus businesses merging.’ For Amazon, it has already been a huge win," says Retale's Nels Stromborg.

The Cannes Lions advertising and media festival wrapped up this past weekend, between sipping rosé and boarding yachts, the top advertisers, agencies and ad platforms gathered to talk about creativity, new technologies and where the industry is heading.

(GeoMarketing’s Lauryn Chamberlain was there with coverage of J. Walter Thompson’s Elizabeth Cherian “Speak Easy” voice-activation report with MindshareHow Brands Can Have Authentic Conversations In ‘Smart Cities’ with Intersection’s Colin O’Donnell, as well as moderating a panel on How Marketers Can Integrate OOH, Social To Create Context — At Scale.)

Nels Stromborg, managing director of location-based shopping app, Retale,  was also in attendance, and he shared some of his observations about what drove most of the talk among the attendees he encountered.

Amazon, Amazon, Amazon

Amazon is dominating the conversation at Cannes. Their reach into the physical retail world shouldn’t be underestimated. They’re poised to redefine the way we shop and how we do business. As Oath’s Tim Armstrong said, we’re “now in an era of industries merging versus businesses merging.”

For Amazon, it has already been a huge win. Their stock added $15 billion in value the day after acquiring Whole Foods. They basically got the company for free. Expect more moves to come.

Ad Science And Art

“Stories first, data second.” This was a key theme at Cannes. Data is a great tool for optimizing campaigns, but advertisers need to focus first on building a relationship with consumers through compelling stories.

Then they need to look at how to employ data to refine their messages and drive maximum results. Data is a tool for enhancing storytelling, it can’t replace it.

Ad-Blocking Still a Concern

Ad-blocking is still a big topic because the problem is only going to get worse. A number of agency partners we spoke to were ready to sound the alarm. And they have a right to be concerned as adoption rises.

To address the issue, major platforms are considering limiting the number of impressions served for each ad. Gone are the days of 500 million impressions served with one or two pieces of creative.

About The Author
David Kaplan David Kaplan @davidakaplan

A New York City-based journalist for over 20 years, David Kaplan is managing editor of A former editor and reporter at AdExchanger, paidContent, Adweek and MediaPost.