I Went to Cannes Lions and All I Got Are These Hot Takes I Went to Cannes Lions and All I Got are These Hot Takes

by  Gavin Dunaway June 25, 2018

In previous years, I’ve rolled my eyes as Cannes Lions came around following Ops. It’s long seemed like a soapbox for agencies to stand atop and make blasé statements on the industry. Tightly wrapped in my nest of publisher and agency ad ops, I casually read the coverage and nursed a local IPA, with no interest in investigating the nuances of rosé.

Yeah, so that changed.

I spent last week at the Cannes Lions festival, and I didn’t necessarily regret skipping out on the trip before, but hustling up and down the Croisette did hammer home how much the ad industry (and AdMonsters) has transformed… Really in the past few years.

What’s been the crux of this change? Consulting my astute industry observations, I’d say header bidding and the branded content revolution. By exploding the number of auctions occurring, header bidding made “spray and pray” scale-buying (or cookie-chasing) untenable. It also had a damaging effect on agency wheeling and dealing with media (some might call this arbitrage…).

Branded content has been on the upswing because consumer engagement is much more impressive than media creative. No surprise then that many major publishers were in high profile spots showing off the best of their creative studios. (However, the presence of venture-funded upstarts like Vox Media and BuzzFeed was noticeably minimal.)


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