Four things everyone was talking about at Cannes Lions

Paul Paul Bannister
Top themes at Cannes Lions 2023
  1. AI is top of mind

  2. Creators are critical to advertising success

  3. Privacy is a public matter

  4. Sustainability can’t be ignored

Tens of thousands of people descend on the small town of Cannes every June for the advertising industry’s event of the year: Cannes Lions. It’s held in a stunning location on the French Riviera, but that’s not why so many people attend. Cannes Lions is the Oscars of advertising, a festival for the industry’s most influential players to celebrate the best global ad campaigns, discuss deals, and spark inspiration for the coming year. 

Cannes’ seaside promenade, La Croisette, explodes with satellite events and parties that spill over to the beach, marina, and even luxury yachts rented just for meetings. Every major ad agency, tech platform, and advertising consultancy has a presence at the event—to say that Cannes Lions is huge would be an understatement. 

Six Raptive team members attended the 2023 festival, where we had dozens of meetings and hundreds of impromptu conversations, hosted dinners, and sponsored multiple panels. The festival goes far beyond networking—the conversations at Cannes Lions shape the future of the advertising industry. They also play a key role in Raptive’s already-strong direct sales strategy, reinforcing and growing our advertiser relationships.

Four themes emerged from our week with advertisers and agencies in Cannes:

  1. AI is top of mind

It’s no surprise that Artificial Intelligence dominated nearly every conversation. AI has the potential to change the media and advertising industry in so many ways, and we’re just at the beginning. Raptive is firmly committed to empowering and protecting creators during the AI revolution, and we hosted the panel ‘AI four ways: How AI is being used across different businesses’ to explore how different companies are using AI. 

[From left] Raptive’s EVP, Ad Sales, Marla Newman, moderated the panel with Larry Allen of Comcast, Paul Bannister, CSO of Raptive, Sebastien Hernoux of ad agency OMD, and Raptive creator Lisa Bryan of Downshiftology. 

  1. Creators are critical to advertising success

Creators are essential to a successful advertising campaign, and the industry knows it. Cannes recognized creators’ role in events across the festival that explored topics like balancing authenticity against business goals. We hosted a panel on culture and influence at the GroupM rooftop with Raptive creators Lisa Bryan of Downshiftology and Cassey Ho of Blogilates. The takeaway? Authenticity is—and always will be—the key to successful, sustainable content. 

  1. Privacy is a public matter

With Google Chrome intending to sunset third-party cookies in late 2024 and more privacy trends sweeping the industry, privacy was a very public topic of conversation. We attended an invite-only event hosted by the Chrome team to discuss the status of cookies and talked about cookie replacement technologies with companies all around Cannes.

  1. Sustainability can’t be ignored

The digital advertising industry is starting to focus on reducing its surprisingly large carbon footprint. We spoke with major ad agencies about their plans and how our creators can run a carbon-efficient ad set up to maximize revenue and minimize emissions. 

We’re expecting these four topics of conversation to continue beyond Cannes and gain traction throughout the year—keep an eye on the Raptive Newsroom to stay up to date on the latest industry trends and insights.