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June 16, 2019, Article

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Cannes You Dig It? A Cannes Lions 2019 Preview of a Sort

This article was originally published in Ad Monsters. You can read the full article here.

Marie Kondo will be at the Cannes Lions festival. That’s all you need to know. That’s all I care about.

On Monday, Ms. Kondo—or MK Ultra, as I call her—will be on a panel called “Less Stuff, More Joy: Life-Changing Japanese Creativity.” She will deliver her message of reaching the sublime through consolidation in a very tidy panel, using only words that spark joy to maximize the effectiveness of her too small 45 minutes.

Yes, her husband and business partner Takumi Kawahara will be co-presenting with her, but I believe he is only a temporary problem. When our eyes meet, she will know we belong together like two tightly folded t-shirts in a dresser drawer.

MK has changed my life. My condo has been Kondified. Everything that can be folded has been, and arranged in a Tetris-like fashion. I have little boxes tucked inside little boxes. Everything sparks joy in; I no longer recognize that which does not.

Yes, I am in love, but in a most minimal and practical fashion.

After MK speaks on Monday, I plan to roll on stage my precisely packed suitcase. After that I will show her a photo of all the material items I have thrown away because they failed to spark joy in me, and then I will promptly delete said picture because my waste does not spark joy.

Finally, I will ask her if I spark joy in her; if she answers yes, I will fold myself into the tightest of stackable geometric shapes, and ask her to store me with her most prized possessions.

I can only dream that she has a box to put me in.

All right, I’ve been told by AdMonsters bosses that they’re sending me to Cannes to figure out what’s hot in digital media, advertising, and ad tech, not just stalk the Queen of Minimal Maximization. So I guess I’m going to be forced to attend a bunch of yacht and beach parties, and then consume copious amounts of alcohol so I can coax out stories from the ad tech underbelly.

MK, will you wait for me? My heart belongs with you, snugly fit into a spot within a dresser drawer.

So, yeah, I’ll be roaming around the festival, the yachts, and the beaches, tweeting away and grabbing some video interviews where I can. Follow @AdMonsters@AdMonsterGavin and #CannesLions2019. Whatever will catch my interest?

The Great Gubbins tells no lies. The exchanges and SSPs are making a big splash this year. The timing is quite interesting as Google Ad Manager readies its unified auctions, but Gubbins makes the good point that CTV/OTT and audio are on fire (we might have talked a little bit about that at Ops 2019…).

I’m looking forward to catching up with Rubicon Project to hear more about their Prebid-based Demand Manager. OpenX is tempting me to their beach with something called “OpenAudience.” I’ll hear what’s up with Warner Media, and I betcha some of those Xandr folks make an appearance.

Vox Media is going to give me a download on the latest developments on its curated exchange and creative depot Concert. I’m also hoping to run into OTT-app specialist Future Today and EMX Digital. I’ll even hear about the buy side, catching up with my longtime DSP buds at MediaMath.

It’s Blockchain’s Moment, Baby

As contributor Gabe Greenberg noted, the blockchain companies have taken up residence on the yacht port. They’ve got use cases and trials aplenty to show off. I’m of the mindset that blockchain has come out of the overhyped-to-the-point-of-mockery phase and is ready to make good on its potential. I’m looking forward to grabbing some time with AdLedger and MadHive, and also get the inside scoop about Lucidity’s work with IBM.

Amazing Panels Moderated by AdMonsters

All right, I gotta self-promote a little bit. But honestly, on Wednesday, Smart gave me the helm of an awesome panel about “programmatic creativity.” My god, that inspired me so much that we have way too much to talk about: the coming influx of location data, the future of the header and potential for fluid placements across pages; the effect of blockchain technologies and AI; and yes, the potential for dynamic creative and programmatic to get a bit closer to the creative forces.

My brother from another mother, AdExchanger Executive Editor Zach Rodgers, is leading a panel earlier on the Smart yacht regarding restoring trust in the programmatic landscape. While I’ve been told that both talks are really overbooked in terms of attendance, Smart will be broadcasting the action for the poor schmoes left on the port.

Hey, Isn’t This Whole Festival Supposed to Be About Creative?

Oh yeah… Forgot about that part. The consultancies are once again making a big mark across Le Croisette. I’m most interested in the reaction to Accenture’s acquisition of supposedly “indie forever!” Droga5. Accenture CEO Brian Whipple (must not make Mr. Whipple jokes…) Droga founder David Droga are even leading a session in the Grand Palais—I wonder if the audience will hiss?

The Cannes Lions agenda seems packed with a lot of independent and integrated agencies talking shop—I’m eager to make new friends. And I’m sneaking onto a few creative agency parties and want to grab the inside take. But I’m still on the tech track—I’ll be catching up with Unity to hear how augmented reality technology is becoming more scalable for the buy side.

Ugh, I guess I’m interested in a lot at Cannes. And I just learned Jeff Goldblum is speaking on a panel as well… I’m sorry MK—JG has been my first love since “Buckaroo Banzai.” That cowboy suit…

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