What You Need to Know on Day 4 of Cannes Lions

Breaking news about tech competitors Facebook and YouTube

John Tejada

Hello from sunny Cannes, where things heated up on Wednesday thanks to the tech companies.

The day started with a fantastical storytelling experience at Facebook Beach, ended with a show-stopping performance by Travis Scott on Spotify Beach, and two tech companies broke some news in between.

At a Google press breakfast, YouTube released its new Creative Suite to help marketers make better ads. The service includes storytelling tools and data-rich insights, giving brands the ability to see how viewers respond to videos and to tweak them in real time. The move comes as marketers are pressuring the site to beef up brand safety measures.

Earlier this week, CEO Susan Wojcicki said YouTube is working to be on the right side of history. Vp of global solutions Debbie Weinstein elaborated on that in a conversation with our Branding Editor Kristina Monllos: “The way that we are working and the way we are working collectively as an industry is really a new invention. It has never existed before. There is not a playbook for how we handle a platform that’s moving at this scale and at this speed. Four-hundred hours of content is uploaded every minute. The diversity—we’re in 90 different countries and 80 different languages.”

Instagram broke the news that it’s launching IGTV, an app that will let users upload and watch long-form videos from creators. And in a democratic move, the app said anyone can be a creator, meaning the feature isn’t limited to influencers with big followings. Creatives, take note: the videos will be vertical and integrated with the main app.

A suggestion for your Cannes-do list: Experience Instagram’s mesmerizing collaboration with Es Devlin, known for making mind-bending stage designs for artists like Beyoncé, at Facebook Beach. Here, she takes you on a journey from cave drawing to Instagram Stories in a way that made a couple colleagues tear up. Maybe all that time you’ve spent Instagramming your week at Cannes has some deeper meaning after all?

Say that again

  • “In the United States, if you’re not doing multicultural marketing, you’re not doing marketing,” said P&G chief brand officer Marc Pritchard during a panel discussion at the Dutch Embassy of Creativity. Pritchard noted that he’d like marketers to find a way to measure racial equality in their ads, similar to the ANA’s SeeHer movement for gender equality.
  • “When it comes to working with brands, my philosophy is I want to have my cake and eat it too,” Turner host Conan O’Brien said, urging marketers to take more risks with entertainers. “I want something that’s really funny, that would be funny without it being an ad—if you didn’t know it was being monetized, you would still find it to be a funny segment. And that’s the idea: the client’s happy, my fans are happy, I’m happy. If that’s not going to work, we try and walk away from it. If we’re going to make money at the expense of our fans, it’s going to hurt us. It’s going to hurt us badly.”

A CEO’s guide to Cannes

Here’s how Mekanism CEO Jason Harris—known for the White House’s “It’s on Us” campaign as well as work for the United Nations, Axe and Virgin America—finds inspiration in Cannes and takes it home to New York.

“Look at Cannes as your office. For many years, I had a hard time detaching from the things going on at home base. But to really be inspired, you have to cut off from work and commit to the festival as your job. It may feel like it, but nothing will fall apart without you.

There will be plenty of people you know, but make an effort to connect and meet those that you don’t know. Ask them what they are working on that gets them stoked. Why is that their favorite piece of work? What should have won? Why didn’t it win? What do they think will win next year? Where do they want to see the industry go?

Take notes on your phone (mental notes don’t mix well with with rosé); I promise, otherwise you will forget.

If you take the time to log off and truly be open minded—not pushing your agenda, but representing everyone at your real office—you will find that this vortex of creativity will inspire you in ways you never dreamed of.”

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