A day spent at Cannes without a yacht or a glass of rosé in sight was surprisingly entertaining and enjoyable.
As usual with Cannes, the site and the schedule take a bit of getting used to. Livestreams take place all day, but specific talks either need to be clicked through to separately, or found in the On Demand section, where there are over 150 films ranging from 5 to 35 minutes, covering everything from consumer trends to storytelling.
A virtual festival makes it more inclusive than before, with cheaper access (some films are free on YouTube if you know where to look), and obviously no travel costs. There is also no need to queue, and if 2,000 people want to watch the same session then that is not a problem.
I spent a very interesting afternoon exploring what was on offer, and here are some thoughts and highlights:
WARC’s Rethinking Brand for the Rise of Digital Commerce was a very popular event, and gave a quick run through of their new 60+ page report which had been released this morning. The thesis is that since it is easier to see and measure short term effects with digital media, many brands were putting more budget into hitting short term goals, while skimping on their longer term brand campaigns. This is dangerous, because having a strong brand makes the short term sales easier, but it takes a strong leadership to strike the right balance. The report is very good, but the session suffered from being too short, and didn’t really explore implications, like planning based on attention metrics, as much as I would have liked.
Next to watch some of the on demand content. It is a bit of a mixed bag, and given that YouTube is the partner for the streaming it was a shame that you could not search for films by topic (‘gaming’, ‘post covid’ and so on), or even see which of the films were the most popular.
As with many conferences, I found the presentations more interesting than the debates or discussions, and ones I would recommend include WGSN’s look at four new consumer segments for 2023, including ‘Predictors’ and ‘New Romantics’, YouTube on how our relationship with video changed during lockdown, as it became a place for companionship, and MediaLink’s presentation on the future of retail with Snap, which included examples and stats for AR shopping from brands like Gucci.
There is certainly lots to explore, and I look forward to seeing more over the next few days. Finally, no parties mean no sense of FOMO, and wondering how your colleagues managed to get more invites!