IX Perspectives

IX in Cannes: Our Biggest Questions for the Festival

A week from today, eleven colleagues and I will be with thousands of media, advertising, and technology minds in the South of France for the annual Cannes Lions festival.

In addition to meetings, dinners, and drinks, we’re excited to participate in the content portion of the festival: we’re hosting a panel with the Daily Mail on programmatic creativity (info here) and sharing ideas on the future of retail media with Triad and friends (and here).

The team can’t wait. Yes, rosé is delightful and a panel on a yacht trumps an over air-conditioned hotel ballroom any day, but I’m most excited to tap the collective brainpower at Cannes and get some information and opinions  on programmatic advertising’s biggest opportunities, trends, and trials.

Here are the top five questions I want to get answers to:

1. What does creativity in programmatic really mean and who is programmatically creative?

When we talk about creativity in programmatic, it’s usual in reference to the actual creative, that is, the ad a user sees, hears, watches, or reads.  Though creative content is a big part of user impression, programmatic advertisers, publishers, and technology platforms, thinks creatively about how to solve unique media buying and selling needs. My ears will be open for instances of a brand, agency, or publisher taking a creative or non-intuitive approach to programmatic long before coming up with how an ad will look and sound.

2. Is the industry actually worried about ad blocking?

In reviewing content for the festival, only one or two sessions touch on ad blocking. I appreciate Cannes’ avoidance of cynical topics, but I’m curious to see if it’s a cause of concern and conversation away from the stages.

3. How can the programmatic marketplace support unique forms of branded content?

While I’d imagine the bulk of the native work celebrated at Cannes will be custom campaigns, there have to be some good examples of standardized native creative out there as well. I’m looking for creative examples of native campaigns that could sell in a programmatic marketplace. If there aren’t –I’ll get to the bottom of why that is and if more flexible ways of selling is a potential solution.

4. Is header tag on the brand marketer’s radar?

I’ve watched the tremendous growth of header-based spend over the past year, so, for me, header tag is extremely top-of-mind. While I understand it’s not to all, it is something I believe brand marketers should be talking about. I’ll keep a tally for instances of header tag or header bidding mentioned on stage and will surely bring it up in the conversations I have.

5. How important is programmatic to the brand CMO’s talk track this year?

The highest-level brand marketer perspective is always extremely interesting to me. A number of CMOs are consumer facing companies are speaking and I’m eager to hear what they have to say around how programmatic factors into their talk tracks.

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