RTL Beach takes over the Cannes Lions

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The Cannes Lions festival of creativity once again became the international rallying point for the leaders of the marketing and media sector.

More than just a reunion after two years of Covid, this event was also a new beginning, in particular for RTL AdConnect, who was back on the Croisette with the RTL Beach to share some exciting news and shed a light on the world of Total Video.

Between big announcements and exclusive talks with top marketing experts, the RTL Beach was a busy creative hub, bringing inspiration and vision to the French Riviera. And for those who could not join us, we selected three key messages that best conveyed and represented the atmosphere and content shared on our beach.


The RTL Beach was first and foremost the beach of strong alliances. 

This is of course a nod to RTL AdAlliance, the newly announced name of the future international advertising sales champion of the RTL Group. Uniting RTL AdConnect, G+J i|MS and the media division of smartclip, the sales house is set to become an advertising powerhouse.
The big reveal of the new brand name was made during a prestigious panel reuniting, Stéphane Coruble, CEO of RTL AdConnect, Oliver Vesper, Co-CEO of smartclip, Stefanie Meierfrankenfeld, Managing Director of G+J iMS and Ton Rozestraten, CEO of Ad Alliance.The four sat down together and explained not only why this alliance is an answer to current industry challenges, but also the behind the scenes of the merger, in one of the highlights of the week.

The power of alliances was therefore one of the major themes of the RTL Beach. Various panels taught the audience about the great value of strong partnerships and alliances and how joining forces can have positive impacts on all players of the industry. 

This topic was also very on par with our times, as news about media mergers and acquisitions are becoming more and more common and are now part of media culture. Hence the importance for us to stop and take a look at how this industry is evolving by inviting a diverse group of speakers to join the debate with RTL AdConnect.



Throughout this week full of panels and talks, numerous insiders have followed one another to share their takes on the media landscape and advertising industry. 

Karen Nelson-Field, a big name in the media ecosystem and known for her work on human attention, sat down with us to discuss the need for more ubiquitous metrics in the advertising sector. Current metrics, such as viewability, fail to look at the human and therefore do not take  the degree of attention of the viewers while watching an ad into consideration. 

And while she says that attention is not going to replace the known metrics anytime soon, it is still a key to creating more consistent and relevant media plannings. This is why she has been working on how to measure attention and what can impact it, be it quality of content, format or even the physical environment.

We also got to listen to other experts of measurement, like Radha Subramanyam, Chief Research and Analytics Officer at CBS Corp. The Media consumption landscape is more fragmented than ever before. People are watching content on different devices and there are more and more platforms. The topic of measurement has naturally become a hot issue as marketers seek profitable investments. Brands, media agencies and the media itself are more eager than ever to find the best ways to accurately measure video consumption. 

As a long-time specialist, Radha Subramanyam explained how measurement is and will continue to be a team sport that needs to rely on different data sources to provide consistency.

What is also important in measurement is the quality and the context of the ads.
Radha Subramanyam explained that one should not see a short spot to a long spot in the same light. It is not just a matter of length but it is also a matter of production value. The quality can impact the perception of an ad, and the same goes for the context. Watching an ad on a big screen versus a small screen should not be treated equally. Radha concluded that therefore, the equivalization of impressions is not the solution for measurement.



Adding purpose

This year, the RTL Beach had an entire day dedicated to Responsible Marketing and Purpose. We had the chance to have brilliant experts from different backgrounds such as creative agencies, media brands, retailers and associations gathering and exchanging about technology, advertising and marketing and looking at the media and advertising industry through the lens of environmental and social responsibility.

They shared insights on the way purpose, as a concept, is evolving and how its perception is also changing. According to Adam Gerhart, Global CEO of Mindshare we are now in a period of purpose fatigue. For him, this shift happened because “there was a moment of reckoning where brands and businesses were being called out for not standing for anything, they over swung, and the pendulum went too far.”

The concept of purpose was used as a smoke screen for marketing intents without being incorporated in the actual value chain of brands. And this gap between the representation and the reality impacted this cause negatively.

To close this day full of debates, the RTL Beach hosted a tribute event for “Act Responsible” where we saw some of the most inspiring and creative figures of the advertising industry being acknowledged for their engagement and impacts in spreading a responsible mindset. This emotion-packed event was organized by the association ACT: Advertising Community Together who was also celebrating its 20th anniversary, a perfect example of the perseverance of this major cause. 

And this year, we were not the only ones looking for purpose on the Croisette. Greenpeace, also left on a strong impression, to say the least. In what we can see as a perfect metaphor for the rising importance of the climate change debate in advertising, a dozen protesters climbed on top of the Palais des Festivals with signs and banners reading “Ban fossil fuel advertising”.