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Where Was TV Programmatic at Cannes?

July 20th, 2016   ||    by Charlene Weisler

Who would’ve thought that there’d be a discussion of data and programmatic at Cannes? While data and programmatic have been hot topics in quantitative areas of media such as research and sales, they’re now making inroads into creative areas. Cannes, one of the most creative confabs in the industry, recently hosted a series of panel discussions on both data and programmatic.

Data-Driven Creative

With data infiltrating the creative domain, one might say that the end of creativity is nigh. Is it? In fact, there are several agencies that have been flirting with programmatic for a while. A recent AdExchanger article from Cannes reported that BBDO San Francisco is currently working on a programmatic ad campaign for its client Mattel and will use the results of this effort to help inform future agency decisions in that area. However, there is a creative-mindset challenge, according to Jim Lesser, CEO of BBDO San Francisco who noted, “There’s so little Cannes-worthy creativity in programmatic. Our ability to target is unbelievably precise, while our ability to create messaging and storytelling for the people we can reach is lagging far, far behind.”

Other creative agencies, such as WPP, GroupM, and Grey, are trying to take a corporate culture, which has not been built around data, and find ways of applying data science and including media planning into their creative process.

For those who embrace data-driven creative (without compromising on artistry), the addition of data into the creative process is a point of consideration, not a determiner of creative. John O’Keeffe, worldwide creative director at WPP explained, “Data is just information. It’s a good starting point from which to draw an insight, from which you can get creative. If you can deliver that programmatically, congratulations, well done.”

Navigating Programmatic

With so much change and disruption, how do brands and creators navigate the programmatic landscape? In discussing programmatic at Cannes, Ron Amram, senior media director at Heineken, focused on “the right technology for us and the right partners for us. It’s a frenemy industry. As this industry evolves, new players come in and old players continue. For us it’s simple: Focus on what is best for our brands.”

“Part of the challenge,” according to B. Bonin Bough, VP of Global Media and Consumer Engagement at Mondelēz International, is that “there has been a level of complacency (in media planning). The last fifty years have been easy. There are a lot of deals done in back rooms over scotch and cigars and that is really easy. Look at the financial industry. There was a lot of laziness. Look how that that business was reinvented overnight and greater value was unlocked. There’s a lot of value still left here waiting to be unlocked.”

But it’s up to the client, according to Bonin, to put pressure on the market to initiate change, whether measuring cross platform or going programmatic.

Next Steps

Programmatic companies themselves need to be clear as to the value proposition. Carat’s Chief Digital Officer Anthony Rhind believes that the programmatic industry has done a poor job of explaining itself. “Programmatic has been quite impenetrable. There’s a lot of jargon, a lot of technology, we talk a lot about ‘data’. We’ve not always been great at helping clients to understand why they need to spend the time.”

But he also believes that the message is getting out. “It’s about helping them get to the right person with the right message at the right moment. It’s now possible to achieve that,” he concludes.

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