Anticipated Advertising Trends at Cannes Lions

If anyone in the industry needs a reminder of what makes advertising exciting, Cannes Lions provides an unforgettable shot of inspiration every year.

 

It’s more than just a showcase of the greatest and brightest creativity the industry has to offer: it’s also an opportunity to discuss, at length, the trends and challenges facing the industry today.

 

Below you’ll find what ShowHeroes attendees are looking forward to speaking and hearing about this year. 🦁

 

Don’t have time for their full commentary? Check out their thoughts in snapshot form over at MediShotz.

Ilhan Zengin, CEO

Ad Creativity

(Digital) Ad creativity is as important as ever – especially in a day and age with so much fragmentation, information overkill and new channels emerging around CTV/OTT and gaming. Ad creation has been and always will be the most important piece of every marketer’s puzzle. If you look at marketing from the perspective of the Pareto Principle, creative accounts for 80% of an ad’s success – no matter if we are talking branding (upper funnel) or performance (lower funnel).

 

This should be grist to the mill for Canne’s good old creative industry veterans, especially at a time when ad tech has captured the industry with promises of groundbreaking user targeting and big data solutions. These, for sure, are important plays, but they count for very little when creatives fail to deliver against their target audiences and channels.

 

Content and creation will always serve as the foundation of good and successful advertising. It’s important to make that call in and around Cannes once a year, but it holds true in all seasons; especially when it comes to video consumption and advertising.

Kay Schneider, Senior Vice President

Attention measurement

At Cannes, advertisers will be keen to learn more on the progress being made around Attention measurement technology and how it is boosting advertising success. The technology is quickly maturing and common practices and methodologies are being learned and accepted. Hence, it will become the dominant metric / currency for online video in the next 2-3 years.

 

We’re seeing particularly strong demand for Attention measurement capabilities in the CTV/OTT space, where viewability and CTR metrics are less relevant. Thankfully, Attention for CTV tech is finally starting to catch up and we’re seeing increased adoption going into Cannes. We expect the impact of Attention in CTV to be even stronger in 2025.

 

Personalisation in a cookieless world

There will inevitably be a lot of discussion and debate at Cannes on Google’s postponement of cookie deprecation and how the industry is responding. Overall, the direction hasn’t changed, but players feel (again) some relief as many alternative solutions are still well below expectation. A notable example of that is first-party data concepts, which are still very difficult to leverage at scale. ID-matching services will use any GDPR-compliant data point to identify users, desperately aiming to increase match rates for programmatic deals to scale.

 

However, ID-based concepts will not be sufficient (as cookie-based solutions haven’t for years) to assure effective media buying. That’s why contextual solutions for content recommendation, audience targeting and brand safety filtering are emerging as a dominant factor in the post-cookie advertising ecosystem.

Steven Filler, UK Country Manager

 

Creativity

Buyers are looking to invest in more impactful creatives across their video and CTV campaigns, and we expect this to be a key area for discussion at Cannes Lions. Advertisers are looking to enhance their video assets with a range of creative approaches designed to boost the brand impact of their campaign, drive engagement using interactive players and QR codes or use custom content to further amplify the contextual relevance of their ad.

 

We have seen a 3x increase this year in campaigns utilising ShowHeroes’ custom creative services as advertisers put more focus on maximising the impact of each ad opportunity. It’s a clear sign that advertisers are starting to take a much more bespoke approach to OLV and CTV, rather than replicating their creative campaigns from traditional broadcast channels.

 

Measurement

The future of measurement will be up for discussion again at Cannes Lions this year. We still see more advertisers valuing brand lift over attention when it comes to measuring their branding campaigns across online video and CTV. Increasingly we are seeing savvy buyers combine Attention and Brand lift to gauge the true impact of their campaigns – Attention measurement to measure media and placement quality and then brand lift to measure the creative impact. Attention provides real time optimisation opportunities while brand lift is still used more as a post campaign measure. However, we are starting to see some campaigns with longer lifespans measure brand impact mid-campaign and then use this data to make additional creative optimisations.

 

Gen AI

Given the traditional creative focus of Cannes Lions, the impact of AI on the future of creativity is guaranteed to be a hot topic, with the consistent theme being that AI isn’t here to replace the creative agency but to be used as a tool to make creativity more efficient and effective.  We’re still at the early stages of AI impacting upper funnel creative output with the exception of a few big brand tests e.g. CocaCola.  The current reality is that AI is helping to make it more efficient to craft multiple creative variations and this is likely to be the biggest short term impact -evolution rather than revolution.

 

Sustainability

I want this to be the year that the advertising industry moves from mostly talking about sustainability to taking action. Advertisers now have access to technology that can easily measure the carbon impact of their entire programmatic supply chain, allowing them to take action to reduce or offset emissions. ShowHeroes’ Green Media initiative was launched last year to give advertisers access to these capabilities. There needs to be more high-level, senior buy-in around initiatives like this, so that sustainable tech becomes a day-to-day feature of all digital campaigns.

 

Supporting diverse audiences

A key consideration for attendees at Cannes Lions this year should be how advertisers can reach and support more diverse audiences. One thing that is seriously preventing our industry from doing this is the misuse of keyword blocklists. Some large advertisers are still deploying blocklists and removing any sites related to minority issues because they consider them too “sensitive” for their brand; content related to Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ+ rights for example.

 

This tactic benefits no one, because it cuts off minority-owned publications from the ad revenue they need to survive and prevents brands from reaching truly diverse audiences through their advertising. I want to see high-level discussions during the festival on how we can end this practice and start building a more inclusive and equal media ecosystem.

Sarah Lewis, Global Director, CTV

 

Enhance creativity in CTV

At Cannes Lions we’re expecting advertisers to be more open to discussing the opportunities for deploying enhanced creatives in their video campaigns, particularly in the CTV arena. As the CTV market has matured, brands are beginning to understand that these lean-back environments are very different to the linear TV experience. Because of that, CTV demands its own unique approach that combines tailor-made creatives with enhanced, interactive features.

 

ShowHeroes, for example, is seeing huge demand for our custom animations and voice command CTV ads, which drive increased user engagement and impressive brand uplift results. Interactive features like voice command are also opening the door to more ecommerce-based campaigns in CTV, attracting interest from performance-based marketers.

 

The rise of FAST channels

“With CTV viewers experiencing increasing subscription fatigue, we’re seeing an explosion of free, ad supported streaming (FAST) channels. Sony Pictures, for example, recently announced the launch of 50 FAST channels in Europe, featuring iconic and bingeable series like Seinfeld and Breaking Bad. In the US alone, the number of FAST channels increased by over 80% in 2023. With so many new channels emerging, the demand for quality content to fill TV schedules is soaring. This has created a big opportunity for production houses with large back catalogues.

 

However, quality is now being prioritised over quantity and there will be a crystallization of the market. Publishers need to move quickly to establish their channels before it becomes saturated.