by Maria Palma | Originally Published on LinkedIn
As a first time Cannes attendee, I must say, the setting is breathtaking and definitely takes you away from the hustle and bustle of New York. The endless rosé and sound of the sea also does not hurt. I was pleasantly surprised by the conversation – it felt less like a belligerent frat party than I was expecting.
As many others have pointed out, data and creative were two big themes. Here are some of my Cannes takeaways as I reflect back on the week.
While predictive data is essential, don’t forget that people can still surprise you.
I’m a firm believer in the use of predictive data to drive better outcomes for everyone, but it’s important to not forget that people change and also want to be surprised and discover new things. Let’s remember not to limit people to what their transaction history shows us. Someone who had a steak at lunch can become a vegetarian by dinner and someone who’s never traveled may decide they want to book their first trip tomorrow. Also, given the fact that much of our data universe is modeled rather than deterministic, sometimes we will inevitably get it wrong. Balance your assumptions with testing and iterative optimization to account for these elements.
Getting quality creative and data activation to work in concert IS the Holy Grail.
Considering that 65% of ROI in TV is driven by the creative, it’s great to see creative finally getting more attention in digital. Perhaps Caspar Schlickum, from Xaxis, said it best when he said we will see both the application of data to creative as well as the application of creative to data going forward. In the future, it will come down to not only what data you have but about how you activate it that makes a difference (in the creative, across mediums).
While privacy is crucial to maintain, data is not going away as the lynchpin of the future.
As always, there was discussion about privacy concerns with data, which is a warranted, healthy, and important discussion. Sir Tim Berners-Lee (whom we can all thank for inventing the Internet on which all this and much more is possible) drew the crowd to an appropriate conclusion: Your data is much more valuable to you than anyone else. For example, I love any opportunity to eat outside. Rather than going into Yelp and searching by location with an “outdoor dining” filter on international roaming data in the south of France, had I been hit with an ad for outdoor dining nearby, I would have been engaged. So, yes, it’s definitely helpful to advertisers, and would have been helpful to me as well! Especially when you consider putting all the data together (my fitness trends both on the Nike app, myfitnesspal et cetera) and as the lines between advertising and content blur, the mass of data is most useful to me as an individual consumer.
Take a Moment, And Think Ahead.
Cannes also provided a valuable opportunity for attendees to take a step away from our day-to-day responsibilities in order to be inspired. So much of the conversation at the festival was focused on what our world as well as our industry, and we as individuals, will evolve into ten years from now. Being curious about the future, as I am, I enjoyed exploring the future of artificial intelligence and how it will not only impact ad bidding but corporations, regulations and life as we know it. Marilyn Manson reminded us and brands to stay true to ourselves while continuing to evolve and Diana Nyad, who was the first woman to swim from Cuba to Florida without a shark tank at the age of 64, reminded us to answer the question posed by poet Mary Oliver: “What is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”