2024 Cannes Lions Takeaways for OOH

Earlier this month, OAAA’s President & CEO, Anna Bager, shared her thoughts in The Drum on why organizations should pay heed to the happenings at Cannes Lions. The largest global gathering of the advertising and creative communities has evolved into a marketplace for networking, innovation, and collaboration. It’s the place to hear new ideas, gain invaluable insights, and understand how cutting-edge marketing technology is helping us all to better reach the modern consumer and drive commerce and action. The discussions were many, the insights were profound, and the opportunity for OOH is unlimited. 

We asked members and friends of OAAA who attended this year’s Festival to share their top takeaways, and what those insights mean for the OOH industry. Here’s what they had to say: 

The celebration of creativity and innovation was palpable, and a powerful reminder of why we do the work we do. Seeing the best work in our industry honored on such a grand stage was incredibly inspiring. Laurie Keith, VP, Emerging Media & Technology, Ad Council

The festival also heralded a notable shift back to creativity at the core of advertising, moving away from the previous focus on ad tech. Brands, agencies and media owners are revitalizing the landscape with a fresh commitment to creativity, content, and creators, showcasing their pivotal role in driving the industry’s evolution. Cannes is clearly championing a future where creativity leads and is at the forefront of driving the industry forward, making this year’s festival especially significant.Anna Bager, President & CEO, OAAA

Given the foot traffic along the Croisette, no one can deny the impact of OOH and it was the power of clever copy that won me over. From Netflix recognizing “I’m Jet Lagged From Watching Bridgerton On The Plane” to The Weather Company playfully suggesting that “If you’re ignoring the need for a weather strategy, we hope you make the most of your last trip to Cannes,” there was an irreverence in the writing made for the creative community. I hope we can continue to craft work the other 51 weeks of the year with this sort of wink and a smile and audience-first approach.Randi Stipes, CMO, The Weather Company

If you think about the various festivals and media trends over the last decade, data and performance metrics have led the marketing shift. As brands have leaned heavily into performance to measure their addressable success, what might be considered healthy tension between brand and performance in many marketing organizations today is an opportunity for out of home. As the pendulum swings back to brand, it is bringing performance along with it and the OOH industry well-positioned to meet those needs of clients’ to connect with consumers. From ease of activation and flexibility of highly creative messaging via DOOH and programmatic or ad served campaigns with the expanded attribution and lower funnel capabilities, OOH can now be part of the performance conversation without sacrificing its branding and awareness driving foundation.Clive Punter, EVP & CRO, OUTFRONT Media

It’s been a few years since there were mass complaints about ad tech companies “invading” Cannes with branded yachts. But new developments in AI – and not just generative AI – are bringing even more automation (and the dashboards, metrics, and confusing acronyms that come along with it) to advertising, and marketers want more clarity. Celebrating creativity is the entire ethos of Cannes, and programmatic ad tech companies can help ensure they aren’t at odds with it by emphasizing how their technology can foster rather than threaten creativity.Infillion @ Cannes

AI may be here, but no one really knows how it’s going to truly impact the advertising and marketing worlds. It’s a “wait and see” approach with each major agency holding company figuring out how best to leverage it into winning and maintaining business. – Brian Rappaport, CEO, Quan Media Group

Cannes itself has became a candy-store canvas for OOH innovation, with standout executions from The Weather Company, TikTok, LinkedIn, Amazon, Kargo, Meta, Netflix, Snap, among others, and immersive experiences from McDonald’s, Pinterest, Reddit, Instacart, Google, Meta, Wall Street Journal, GUCCI, and more. The bespoke-to-the-Festival installations and site-specific campaigns showcased the unique power of OOH to captivate and engage audiences in real-time and real spaces. From interactive billboards to digital installations across formats, the contextual creativity and strategic placement of these campaigns had as much import and relevance as the messages themselves. – Julie Thompson, EVP & CMO, OAAA

Our top takeaway from this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is the ongoing, exponential growth of creator-led campaigns across platforms. We learned that regardless of the mobile or social platform, creators who have built organic and authentic relationships with their followers are leading the way when it comes to culture, trends, and commerce. As a result, creators are uniquely positioned to offer marketers a direct link to audiences, opening opportunities to connect and scale moment driven creative. Goldman Sachs estimates that the creator economy will be a half-a-trillion economy by 2027, with brand-direct deals comprising the main source of earning revenue for creators. These trends demonstrate the power of the 50-million global creators to transform the marketing strategies of brands around the world. – Deborah Hall, CEO and Co-Founder, DIVE Billboards

OOH was on brilliant display at Cannes, and that was really fun to see. The creativity poured into messaging in both physical and digital space of the attending audience was inspiring and impactful. Video everywhere, and the big key: The importance of measurement solutions that accurately report performance to advertisers who are investing valuable dollars in these creative channels.Kimberly Manning, VP, Marketing, Kochava

Creativity, ideation and education are key to the growth of OOH. The overarching phrase that I heard from every brand was “meet the consumer where they are” and “be the medium in that culturally relevant moment.” OOH has the ability to do both, but we have to own that conversation! We need to own our media and tell our story and not allow it to be passed off as a second rate medium. We ARE a blank canvas waiting for a brand’s story to be told and we are unlike any other medium that can visually excite a consumer day after day.Ian Dallimore, VP, Digital Growth & GM of Programmatic, Lamar

A massive call to action around sustainability is in order. As we think about how marketing can be a force for good, we know that creativity can play a big role in affecting change. There is a saying – never waste a crisis – and it’s undeniable that our planet is on the precipice of a big one that will impact our future generations, and not in a good way. We must find a way to help corporations understand that creating sustainable solutions and business growth are not mutually exclusive. Not unlike creative and media, sustainability and growth are a power couple that can drive progress through creativity. Laura Colona, Senior VP Marketing, North America, Talon