Cannes 2023 Recap: The Power of AI – Making the Most of Attention and Impact

The advertising industry turned its attention to La Croisette last week for Cannes Lions 2023, bringing together the most important players to discuss how creativity drives progress across all facets of the ecosystem. 

While I’ve attended Cannes Lions over the past several years, this one felt different: the energy, the excitement, and the true convergence of tech, advertising, and entertainment were palpable throughout the week’s conversations, meetings, panels, and events.

Outbrain gathered with our partners, friends, and colleagues to celebrate the launch of Onyx by Outbrain™ and discuss the importance of Attention, Impact, and of course AI.

Here are a few highlights from the week:

Adweek Kickoff Soiree | Attention Seekers: Standing Out in the Crowd

The customer journey has become far from linear with so many moments, channels, and formats available – all seeking to attract peoples’ limited time and focus. Conventional metrics, such as views and impressions, don’t provide the full campaign performance picture, especially at a time when advertisers and publishers alike are pressured to deliver more ROI than ever before. 

During the event, our Co-CEO, David Kostman, set the stage to discuss how our new branding platform, Onyx by Outbrain™, helps advertisers build toward unique engagement and interest metrics, fueled by AI to drive “AI” – attention and impact. Faye Liddle-Moore, Outbrain’s Global Head of Brand Studio, joined industry experts Ann Marinovich, Chief Content Officer, Adweek; Julie Bramham, Global Brand Director, Johnnie Walker (Diageo); and Jill Lyons, SVP Creative Operations, Maximum Effort to discuss the impact of the open web, how best to captivate audiences’ attention, and forge lasting connections.  

Thanks to Adweek and The Female Quotient for helping us “kick off” Cannes! Check out the highlight video here.  

David Kostman, Co-CEO, Outbrain

MediaLink Beach | The Power of Creatives for Maximum Engagement

Our terrace lounge at MediaLink Beach provided us a great opportunity to connect with many agency, brand, and media representatives to discuss how best to maximize engagement in the new “Attention Economy.” After all, what good is being seen if your ad isn’t gaining (and maintaining) attention from audiences? What use is a click if users opt to not see or do something meaningful afterwards? Standard banners and formats don’t always break through the noise, and the result often leads brands to pay for media that gives little in return.

Since the debut of Outbrain Brand Studio, we’ve been able to support businesses searching for new ways to interact with their target customers on the open internet. It’s a simple formula that blends creativity, data, and a world of experience to go beyond impressions and views.

Thanks to MediaLink for putting on an amazing activation to help us maximize our engagement with current and potential partners! 

Axel Springer’s freedomhaus | Artificial Intelligence Isn’t Meant to Replace Creativity

Stephanie Himoff, Outbrain’s EVP Global Publishers, joined a panel with Cally Baute from Politico, Stefano Spadini from Havas, and Robert Blanck, from Axel Springer to exchange perspectives about the role AI will have on the future of the media industry. 

Although AI is not a new concept, it’s dominating industry conversations and was, by far, the hottest topic throughout the Festival. The key takeaway? Advances in AI have enabled the industry to break from limitations and expand on innovation, but it will never replace the creativity that fuels our industry. 

As attention spans continue to dwindle, brands are facing a tough challenge to stand out. Cannes Lions 2023 highlighted the transformative power trends like Attention and AI – and the Festival itself – can make on supporting and future-proofing our industry.

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