RTL Beach – Making Cannes Lions unmissable

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Welcome to the Croisette

Each year in June the Cannes Lions – the international festival of creativity – unites the major players and creatives of the advertising industry. We are proud to be the only representatives of what many call a legacy broadcaster on the Croisette. The RTL Beach is important because we represent linear TV, content, creativity and the legacy that comes with Total Video. But our CEO Stéphane Coruble explained it best:



On the RTL Beach

Monday – Setting the Scene.

Monday was to set the stage and give a little context about the industry and its metrics such as measurement and attention, we started off with financial analysts and media industry experts Brian Wieser and Ian Whittaker who took a closer look at the current economic situation and its implications for the advertising market.

In our second panel, Max Raven, Executive Vice President of NBCU, Aline Santos, Chief Brand Officer and Chief Equity, Jon Watts, Managing Director of CIMM and Inclusion Officer at Unilever Katty Roberfroid, Director General at egta and our very own Stéphane Coruble, CEO of RTL AdAlliance discussed the strange companions “Creativity and Measurement”. Because we all love a good ad, but how do you measure its success?

Well, this is where the attention and our third panel come into play. We had no one other than attention-guru (a loving nickname from the industry) Karen Nelson-Field, founder and CEO of Amplified Intelligence and Nicolas Grand, SVP Transformation, Global Investment for the Omnicom Media Group to cut through the noise and find out more about the metric of Attention.

Tuesday – What the future holds

Day 2 was a big day, not only did we announce some of the buzz-worthiest news from the Croisette this year, but we also held some of the most coveted panels yet on the RTL Beach. But I am getting ahead of myself.

The theme on Tuesday was looking ahead. We discussed the future of Total Video and the new programmatic buying ecosystem for European TV. Also, ensuring that we are helping to create a sustainable future by driving the change needed, which is among the topics that are keeping brands awake at night. Lastly, we were discussing the new Gaming Festival which will host its edition 0 later this year, this is a rather near future, but it still counts.

For such important topics, we made sure the speakers were up to par and invited some of the heavy hitters in our industry. The Future of TV included the Chief Commercial Officer of Ad Alliance Netherlands Ton Rozestraten, CMO of Ad Alliance GmbH Lars-Eric Mann, CEO of M6 Publicité David Larramendy as well as Damien Bernet, VP, Head EMEA Advertising Sales at Netflix, Edward Wale, Sales director EMEA at LG Ads, and of course Stéphane Coruble, CEO RTL AdAlliance. What to take away? That these players see a unified general consensus: TV is not dead, but the Total Video consumption will evolve towards a more mixed model between linear & demand. Also, advertising sales will incorporate more data and personalisation thanks to tech.

The WFA is a long-standing partner of RTL AdAlliance and of course the RTL Beach. Not only had we the pleasure of speaking with their CEO Stephan Loerke but collaborated on two great panels on the RTL Beach.

The first panel was all about creating a sustainable future. The WFA and Kantar discussed their co-authored report, Sustainable Marketing 2030.  The session was based on a central insight from the report, namely that our ability to bravely apply creativity in how we communicate, innovate and drive value for our organisations will be central to achieving business ambitions that are good for business and for the planet. The panellists included representatives from the WFA, Kantar and the director of global purpose marketing at Mars.

Advertisers driving change was the focus of the second WFA panel. We know that many advertisers want to drive change in the media ecosystem. So, with the publication of the latest Global Media Charter, advertisers are outlining the issues they see in global media today and the change they would like to see – from the industry and from other advertisers. The coveted speakers included brand representatives from Unilever, Lipton Teas & Infusions as well Diageo.

 These focusses are among the topics that are keeping brands awake at night. When confronted with the reality of delivering results, how focused are these brands and their CMOs on academic effectiveness? Is it even debated or is it all about sales? To answer these questions, RTL AdAlliance invited Logitech, Reckitt and JDE Coffee to give us a glimpse into the minds of these high-level marketeers.

Lastly, to grant us a look into the future of gaming, Robin Leproux, Co-Founder of eSpot Paris, Antoine de Tavernost CEO France of Auditoire and David Larramendy, CEO of M6 Publicité introduced us to the Cannes Gaming Festival.

Wednesday – A Case for Creativity

It seemed evident to dedicate one day to the topic at the heart of the Cannes Lions: creativity. But we thought a little change of perspectives might help see this broad term from many a different angle.

Our learnings: Creativity drives profit, creativity helps with a change of perspective from global to local or the other way round, creativity is linked to targeting but the opinions are divided as to which one wins, if it is even possible to crown a winner. And finally, creativity helps you fulfil our bosses demands.

One of our favourite moments of this panel was when Jane gave a shout out to humour. She has seen its use declining in advertising, which of course is understandable with what is happening in the world. However, humour is a great and important tool for ads, as they create amazing emotional connections.

Seeing the world becoming more and more global, we asked ourselves, how can we change perspectives? How do we create global marketing campaigns with local adaptations, or can we build a global strategy on local ideas? Mark Kirkham, SVP & Chief Marketing Officer at PepsiCo International Beverages together with Toby Hack, CEO of PHD EMEA and Cammy Cronin, Senior Vice President, Global Ad Sales Strategy at NBCU shared their experiences with changing perspectives.

The most heated discussion of the day was Creativity vs. Targeting. Jon Evans started off strong with ‘Just don’t make a crap Ad’ – sounds simple, no? This idea comes from the 48% of the marketing budget that is wasted. Samantha Glynne advised us to use emotion, as emotion regulates our attention. This again raised the question, which is more important, creativity or the right targeting? Simple for Andrew Curran, Global Head of Marketing at Lindt, for him creativity wins every time. Kęstutis Tyla, Senior Director of Reach Media at Vinted had a more balanced view, as he thinks without the right targeting, the most creative ad cannot achieve the same impact as with the right targeting. For him, these are two sides of the same coin.

Thursday – Transforming the Industry

Thursday has become the day on the RTL Beach where we celebrate the ACT Responsible Tribute awards for the most inspiring and creative figures in the advertising world that help change our mindset on the big topics such as diversity, the climate crisis and social awareness.

To give this the right context, we organised panels that had this same transformative mind set. Starting off with “Transforming the marketing industry for a thriving future” we were excited to welcome Jonathan Hall, Managing Partner, Sustainable Transformation Practice at Kantar, Robert McFaul, Co-Founder of Purpose Disruptors, and Preeti Srivastav, Group Sustainability Director at Asahi. If we had to sum up this very insightful discussion, we would pick out two major topics. Firstly, how to help marketeers find a purpose that matches with their brand DNA, and secondly how and when to integrate your marketing team to ensure a cohesive and comprehensive story telling of your actions.

Finally, we were honoured to host the 1st Nigerian winner of a Cannes Lions trophy, Steve Babaeko, CEO of X3M Group. In this panel co-hosted by the IAA (International Advertising Association) and CNN, three experts from the banking, telco and creative industries in Africa discussed “Africa: Building Future Ready Brands”.

In the Palais

Of course, we cannot talk about the Cannes Lions, without mentioning the Palais, the talks and of course the outstanding awards. So we summarised a quick overview of some of the grand prix winners.


Eyes on the Prize

The Cannes Lions 2023 Grand Prix winners have once again shattered the boundaries of creativity, inspiring us with their innovative and groundbreaking campaigns. These winners have demonstrated an unparalleled ability to captivate and engage audiences, leaving an indelible mark on the advertising industry. Their visionary thinking and bold approach have pushed the envelope, showcasing the transformative power of creativity. 

Among the notable winners is “The Last Photo,” an emotionally captivating campaign that took home a Grand Prix award in the Film category. “The Last Photo” has left an indelible mark on our hearts and minds with its poignant narrative and ability to start a conversation about mental health. This campaign from ITV and CALM (Campaign against living miserably) masterfully sends us a thought-provoking message, compelling viewers to reflect on the fragility of life and to incite action. Through its captivating imagery and emotional resonance, with over 1.6 billion impressions “The Last Photo” demonstrates the immense power of advertising to connect with audiences on a profound level. 

Other ads we loved; Dove with their #TurnYourBack campaign, turning the tide against harmful ‘Bold Glamour’ TikTok filter. Nike’s Study ‘Never Stop Evolving feat Serena’ using AI to showcase her evolution. And Clash of Clans campaign “Clash from the past” which celebrates the game’s 10-year anniversary with a completely made-up 20-minute documentary and 3 unique games: an 80s arcade platformer, a 90s racer, and a 2000s open-world RPG. 

From thought-provoking narratives to mind-bending technological marvels, each Grand Prix winner has redefined what it means to be at the forefront of innovation. Their campaigns have sparked conversations, challenged norms, and propelled us into new realms of imagination. With their inspiring ideas and fearless execution, these and the many other winners have set a new standard for excellence, driving the industry forward. 

Thank you all for making the RTL Beach unmissable.

It only took us 1 lost phone, 18 panels, over 50 prep calls with speakers, 5 great musicians, 7 crash meetings in the kitchen backstage, 23 hugs, numerous cable spaghetti in the control room, and 4000+ check-ins of the RTL Beach, but we made it!