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Cannes Lions 2024 recap: 6 Vistar takeaways



Carlin Jessop

At this year's Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the Vistar team dove headfirst into a whirlwind of exciting activities and engaging discussions. We soaked up every minute of the sun and enjoyed several beachside (and boatside) panels and group discussions with some of our favorite partners, brand innovators and thought leaders, including Gary Vaynerchuk. We ended the week feeling inspired and motivated, and wanted to share our highlights from this incredible week. 


The importance of brand & sports partnerships


We kicked off Cannes at MediaLink Beach with our back-to-back lunch panels, featuring industry trailblazers and brand innovators. These beachside sessions were a highlight, offering a picturesque setting for meaningful conversations. 

Lucy Markowitz, SVP, GM, US Marketplace at Vistar Media, led our first panel discussion on "The Future of Sports and Brand Partnerships." Key speakers included Shannon Pruitt, Global CMO at Stagwell Brand Performance Network, Margeaux Kwok, Director of Brand Marketing at PepsiCo and Jason Griffins, Vice President - Partnerships at Los Angeles Rams. 

The insightful discussion explored how brands can leverage sports partnerships to enhance market presence and forge stronger relationships with their communities. Key takeaways emphasized the impact of localized marketing and the role of storytelling in cultivating brand loyalty. The session also highlighted the innovative use of out-of-home (OOH) advertising and the importance of authentic community engagement in successful collaborations.


Why brand, agency and platform alignment is key  


Our second beachside panel, "The CMO-Agency Dynamic" brought together senior brand and agency leaders to discuss the evolving relationship between CMOs and agencies. Raj Lala, VP, Demand Sales and Development at Vistar Media, led this conversation, which featured Price Glomski, SVP, Growth Strategy at PMG and Derek Yarbrough, former CMO  of J.Crew and Madewell. The discussion looked at strategies for fostering effective collaborations amidst today's dynamic market landscape. 

Topics ranged from the evolving roles of CMOs to the transformative impact of AI on marketing practices. The conversation highlighted challenges in managing relationships with major advertising platforms, while balancing brand building with performance marketing. Emphasis was placed on the power of creativity in driving successful campaigns and the importance of effective cross-team communication.


AI’s role in the future of marketing

You can’t talk about creativity without addressing the elephant in the room: AI! While experimentation with AI will continue, many companies are starting to focus on widespread adoption—leaving many marketers to question where they fit in this equation and how AI will change their jobs. Discussions focused on ensuring AI enhances marketers’ capabilities and productivity, emphasizing a balance between AI’s strengths and human creativity.  


Why ads are missing the mark 

At Cannes, we dove into the heart of effective idea execution and the role of consumer-centricity in the creative process. One of the highlights was our candid conversation with Gary Vaynerchuk and a group of 12 other CMOs, where we debated why so many ads fail and how to push creative boundaries to make a bigger impact. We delved into strategies for creating powerful advertisements, refining targeting and personalization in out-of-home (OOH) campaigns and exploring how OOH can amplify digital and social media strategies.


The power of the creator economy 

The power of the creator economy was another big theme at Cannes. Our conversations underscored the pivotal role influencers now play in forging strong connections between brands and consumers, fundamentally reshaping consumer interactions and purchasing behaviors. For regular people, the creator economy represents a new opportunity to monetize their creativity and networks. For brands, leveraging influencers as part of your omnichannel marketing strategy can represent a new opportunity to expand your reach and build stronger brand affinity.


Striving for data-centric marketing

The predictability of consumer and competitor actions was a hot topic, with AI being a key tool in understanding market trends and customer preferences. Using data to plan, optimize and analyze the success of your marketing campaigns will be critical as measurement metrics evolve and companies seek to prove tangible ROI.  

Attending Cannes this year was an incredible experience! We are grateful that we had the opportunity to connect with many of our amazing partners, celebrate creativity and learn about new innovations. We’re very excited about the future of advertising and we’re excited to embrace these insights in our creative and client work. If you want to connect on any of these topics, please feel free to contact us.

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