Cannes And The Great Ad-Tech Vacation

It’s that time of year again.  It’s ad-tech vacation!

The Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is this week in France, with the vast majority of advertising and marketing executives worldwide attending this amazing event.

It was my favorite trip for a number of years running, but when you leave ad tech you leave behind the chance to walk up and down La Croisette, wandering from meeting to meeting and chatting endlessly about data.  

This annual pilgrimage to Cannes is followed closely by one to two weeks of advertising hibernation, when said executives go on their respective European vacations.  This is the period when you see the most glamorous, globe-trotting images posted to social media, while literally nothing happens in the advertising world.  

When these folks all come back, they are reenergized and ready to rock.  They enter the end of Q3 and the beginning of Q4 with what they need to tackle the world.  This renewed energy is good, because they have some significant challenges before them.  I would say there are three important items for them to address.



1. Data stability. It’s finally inevitable: The cookie is going to become history.  Google, Facebook and Amazon can propose their own IDs, which can work for the overwhelming majority of advertisers.  If that happens, third-party data becomes rather ineffective and the open web has to play catch up.  There are massive implications on the ecosystem if this happens, which could translate to a lot fewer people headed to Cannes next year!

2. Agency stability. I peruse the media and advertising headlines often, and I am noticing the changing of the guard.  Many executives are turning over in the major agencies these days as the old guard steps into “chairman” roles and fresher blood works its way up the food chain.  I think it is a great thing for agencies to have this new leadership, but I also think these folks are inheriting a chaotic period in the agency lifecycle.  Fringe benefit? There are more people to attend Cannes next year.  

3. Technology stability. It gets said often, but Google, Facebook and Amazon are positioned, along with Verizon and AT&T, to gobble up and eat the rest of the competition.  These are stable platforms, surrounded by hundreds of other companies trying to maintain a foothold.  As a marketer looking to select tools and tactics to use, it is clearly easiest to go with one of these few companies before diving into the rest of the ecosystem.  If these folks continue to eat up the rest of the landscape, how will that affect the attendance for Cannes?  It will be a smaller party for sure.

And speaking of Facebook, am I the only person worried that the largest invader of privacy wants to create its own cryptocurrency and further solidify its ecosystem?    I guess that’s a post for another day.

Well, I know the folks that run the Cannes event and I like them very much, so at the very least I would like to congratulate them on what is certain to be another successful event.  I hope for more continued success for them and for all of you about to venture off on your fantastic family vacations.  Enjoy the break!

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