Reason to be at Cannes Lions 2018: Creative Debates, Hot-Button Topics and Smart Points of View


The international ‘Festival of Creativity’ and ‘Thermopylae’ for global advertisers, Cannes Lions, is just a few days away. In keeping with our coverage of the Cannes Lions for the second year in a row, we interviewed Shachar Orren, Chief Storytelling Officer at Disney-backed storytelling platform, Playbuzz. The Playybuzz team is heading to the sixty-fifth edition of Cannes Lions.

How long have you been following/visiting the Cannes Lions?

I’ve been following Cannes since I joined Playbuzz 4 years ago, and this will be my first year in attendance as the event has become increasingly relevant to us as Playbuzz has a built-out suite of advertiser offerings.

Over the past year or so, our company has placed a large focus on enabling brands to tell their stories in ways that consumers actually want to engage with. We have thus taken the interactivity of our storytelling tools – which are relied on by publishers to author editorial – and applied them to branded content campaigns which we distribute to our network of global publishers who already use us editorially.

With brands and agencies in abundance at Cannes, it makes for the perfect environment to showcase these CPE (cost per engagement) solutions to both audiences as they garner an average brand lift of 91%, as recently reported by Nielsen.

What draws Marketing and Advertising teams to the Cannes Lions?

A change of pace always makes for a nice environment to network in; the rosé, awards, music, and events won’t hurt either, I’m sure.

Couple that with Cannes-goers likely to address hot-button topics that the industry is eager to get more smart points of view on, and you have the recipe for a successful few days. I’m sure the week will be chock-full of discussions that range from GDPR to transparency to fake news and fake advertising, with an emphasis on how to really tackle all of the above.

I’m personally excited for a new format Cannes is introducing this year called the Creative Debates. These will aim to define the future of Branded Communications and the major industry players that will be involved. I’m also keen to see how platforms will be addressed as they sometimes earn less attention.

What areas in your domain are you looking to explore at the Cannes Lions?

Though I’m lucky enough to speak to brands and agencies in Manhattan, where I’m based, I’m excited to gain additional perspectives from similar parties who reside outside of the US on what solutions have worked for them, what they are looking for, and what their priorities are. Are they keen on engagement-based campaigns? Are they redefining what their metrics of success look like to veer away from focusing on clicks and views? Those are topics I’d love to explore.

I’m also assuming there will be an emphasis on viewability and brand safety at the conference, including how to address both budget-wise.

At Playbuzz, we have worked hard to make sure our solutions address those hurdles and are proud to report that our branded content campaigns earn an average of 97%+ in-item viewability, confirmed by MOAT, and attract 99% human, non-fraudulent traffic as confirmed by White Ops.

Who are you keenly following at the event and what topics you feel you would love to hear more about?

I’m interested in those speaking on two main topics at Cannes:

  • Engagement, and how to best package/present content so consumers better engage. One speaker I won’t miss who is addressing how video content and creativity should evolve to do just that is Susan Wojcicki, CEO of YouTube.
  • Using content to do good. There’s an entire track dedicated to this at Cannes Lions this year, and I’m looking forward to hearing perspectives on how content can successfully impact decision-making, and thus positively impact society’s well being. 

Read More: TechBytes with Neal Sinno

How do you plan to utilize the event to promote your brand and benefit your customers and partners?

At Cannes, we will be introducing a new ad offering to brands that expand upon our existing, interactive branded long-form story which the likes of Netflix and Unilever have invested in. This new offering, Branded Elements, is a unique ad unit that boasts the interactivity of our storytelling tools while natively blending into editorial, so users have a positive reading experience with ads, while being compelled to engage.

Moving ad units that are contextual to the content they appear in, and built to engage with, create an experience that to put it simply, doesn’t suck. Even science says so.

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