Cannes Day Two: It’s Not All Just AI

RAK Tourism's Alka Winter attended the Burson launch, saw Gwyneth Paltrow and the OMD Cove on a busy day

Alka Winter

Day 2 was in full swing and I was happy to see the conversation today wasn’t completely dominated by AI.

As persuasive as this tech is in its ability to permeate everything, it seems almost overbaked now.  Be warned that this is coming from a first-time festivalgoer from the brand side, so excuse my humble opinion if I’m glossing over this topic.

Instead, discussions also focused on content creators, brand building and entertainment.

OMD Cove kicked it off this morning with a session on creators and impact marketing, with a reference to the 100+ content creators in Cannes, soaking in the festival vibes but more importantly capturing everything – vertical, short form, long form, vlogs, static, you name it.

Kevin Blazaitis from OMD even remarked on the food shots taken by influencers at various spots at the festival, ‘the phone eats first, always’.

The conversation also dove into brand hopes vis-à-vis influencers; namely, are demands too high on content creators who are expected to know and do everything from direct, script, star, style and even drive media performance?

The Amazon team picked up on the media performance thread, going so far as to state that influencers should be seen as a media channel similar to and in some cases, equal to mainstream channels.

This calls into question the basic measurements that clearly doesn’t go far enough, such as impressions and reach and instead streams, likes, shares and comments is where the ‘magic happens when it’s helped by the community’.

Burson launch with CEO Cory duBrowa and Chairman AnnaMaria DeSalva

American streamer Captain Puffy tackled the topic of evaluating brand partnerships from a creator’s perspective and finding the right fit for both sides.

A paid partnership can look obvious when the brand pushes messaging or verbiage that isn’t a natural fit with the stylings of the influencer.  ‘It just feels paid’ reinforced Puffy.

Twitch, Amazon’s live streaming platform, claims to be taking this forward by building genuine community engagement through reward ads.  ‘It’s a gift from the brand to the community’.

Not to give Gen AI a complete miss in this story – ChatGPT came in handy when asking what time the Olympic flame would pass by Central Croisette.

It was accurate to a tee, and we dutifully stood by the road as a French former paraplegic athlete passed by with the sacred torch and flame.

Sadly, ChatGPT couldn’t accurately identify this individual, and the news got quickly overshadowed by Halle Berry holding up the torch on the red-carpeted steps of the Palais.  Talk about newsjacking!

Later in the afternoon Gwyneth Paltrow took to the Amazon stage with Lauren Anderson, Head of Brand and Content Innovation at Amazon MGM Studios.

When asked what it means to build a successful brand, Paltrow answered that Goop started 15 years ago when there was a lot of opportunity in the wellness space.  But by asking the question, ‘what shouldn’t we be doing?’, it honed the brand down to just three main pillars – beauty, fashion and food.

Tanner Elton, VP US Ad Sales, Amazon Ads, Gwyneth Paltrow, Academy Award Winning Actress and Lauren Anderson, Head Brand and Content Innovation, Amazon MGM Studios

On the topic of brand scalability, Anderson asked everyone what came to mind when thinking of Amazon – shopping.

She also tasked everyone to start associating Amazon as the home of great content, too. Her work on Jury Duty on Amazon Prime and greenlighting other series will hopefully lead to a more fulsome ‘north star’ when it comes to brand building and scaling.

Last port of call for today was the launch of Burson, the new PR agency created from the merger of WPP-owned BCW and Hill & Knowlton which was formally announced five days ago.

Burson CEO Corey duBrowa and chairman AnnaMaria DeSalva addressed the audience at a dedicated launch event, citing that the need to safeguard reputation never mattered more than it did today given global complexities.

They did allude to their LinkedIn takeover during the merger announcement which saw their ‘highlighter’ yellow brand colour dominate the platform.

Day 2 is a wrap.

By Alka Winter, Vice President, Destination Marketing & Communications at Ras Al Khaimah Tourism Development Authority (RAKTDA)