After a week of captivating conversation and rosé-soaked celebrations, Index left the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity with a renewed sense of inspiration and energy for what the future holds. Alex Gardner, SVP of Partner Development, notes this year was decidedly different than those previous. While mentions of companies pulling back and weighing the worth of attending the Festival captured the attention of many, Index felt this year was an invaluable experience and opportunity to meet with folks from a variety of facets and regions in the industry.
Our Cannes hub was right along the Croisette and served as a gathering place for partners and the Index team to network and engage in a dynamic dialogue in meetings, panels and within our content studio.
Index Exchange Panel Highlights
We hosted two panels, both of which discussed the convergence of creativity and data.
- “The Future of Creativity is Automation” included Jim Lesser, President and CEO of BBDO SF; Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Founder and CEO of Drawbridge; and Andrew Casale, President and CEO of Index Exchange.
The three discussed how fast the industry is progressing and why data has been left behind. Jim, the creative of the group, led the conversation by discussing how he and his team at BBDO are striving to embrace data and provide inspiration to creatives to explore what information is available and how it can support creative storytelling for a brand. Andrew mentioned how Index is motivated by getting more of that data embedded into the creative process and helping provide data points to the entire ecosystem. Kamakashi said CMOs are now wearing CDO and CTO hats and that soon, CCOs will too have to hold those skillsets. She also focused on the significance of identity and the benefits of having a consistent view of one user across platforms.
- “Empowering Creatives Through the Power of Data” featured Will Doherty, Index’s VP of Business Development; Barry Lowenthal, President, The Media Kitchen; Lindsay Nelson, CMO, Vox Media, Inc.; Jonathan Perelman, Head of Digital Ventures, ICM Partners; and Brad Simms, CEO and President, GALE.
Jonathan opened the conversation focusing on how the friction between storytellers, show-runners, producers and data in Hollywood is waning and how there is now a better understanding of how the creative process can be informed by data-fueled insights. Lindsay discussed the different ways Vox and its properties are leveraging data to reduce risk and provide efficiency and the importance of moving the insights upstream so that creatives can deliver on the packaged data in the future. Barry believes there is much more to discover on what data can provide and that not enough agencies are pushing for these type of conversations within their creative department. Brad mentioned how humility is important when analysing data as it could prove that certain creative ideas might not land as expected. He’s a strong believer that brands need to own insights: insights in isolation are dangerous whereas insights in collaboration can produce next-generation unlocks for brands.
Index Exchange Content Studio Highlights
More than 20 thought-leaders from companies spanning the media ecosystem joined Contently’s Editor-in-Chief Joe Lazauskas in the Index Studio to discuss their current state of business and trends being discussed on-the-ground in Cannes.
- Cannes veteran Carl Freemont, CDO at MEC, highlighted the need for media agencies to take more accountability on campaign ROI. Carl explained where there is tremendous opportunity outside the walled gardens and why special attention to audience engagement is vital. Click to view the interview.
- Ryan Pauley, VP of Revenue Operations at Vox, discussed the “fight back to quality” and why more and more publishers are focusing on high-impact and performance metrics. He was encouraged to see the industry swinging back in that direction. Click to view the interview.
- A tech and data-driven approach to content was on Frank Kavilanz’s mind. Turner’s SVP of Social Strategy focused on the need to combine art, science and global scale to provide a turnkey solution for content. Click to view the interview.
It’s hard to believe that nearly a week has passed since the industry gathered on the Riviera, and we’re truly thankful for the time we shared with our partners and new relationships that were established. Once again, Cannes left us feeling inspired and even more passionate about what we do, and how we do it.