Cannes 2019: Samba TV Recap


Becky Calejo
Associate Director of Marketing
Jun 28, 2019

Last week marked Samba TV’s fifth year at Cannes and offered the perfect opportunity to showcase our accelerating international growth. With the opening of our newest location in Hamburg, Samba now has thirteen offices across the globe representing nearly 350 total employees. 

This year at Cannes, our team met with dozens of clients and partners to discuss the importance of leveraging a diverse and scalable global TV dataset – Samba’s worldwide footprint now stands at 20MM households that have actively opted-in to activate our ACR technology. TV data and OTT/CTV have become established and critical strategies for gaining incremental reach against a target audience in the face of declining linear viewership.

Panels & Events

While anyone can rent a yacht and serve up some rosé, Samba chose to focus on participating in multiple thought leadership events:

Samba TV’s Co-founder & CEO Ashwin Navin was featured on Kantar’s “Innovations in Video Targeting” panel as part of a lively discussion designed to explore innovations in media targeting capabilities. Susan Tillou (Global Head of Partnerships, Kantar) hosted this panel of experts from across the industry which included Allison Stern (Co-founder, Tubular Labs), Kaitie Coghlan (Head of Client Success, Liveramp), Felicity Long (Managing Director of Connected Execution, MediaCom) and Julie DeTraglia (Global Head of Research, Hulu).

One of the most eye-opening takeaways was the insight that approximately 70% of consumers are negatively impacted by repetitive ads – especially within OTT content. Seeing the same ad multiple times during a short period creates a poor user experience for the viewer and also decreases brand favorability. OTT continues to grow as a primary media strategy, and brands must be diligent in understanding their true reach & frequency in order to avoid over-saturation. 

Samba TV sponsored The FQ Lounge at Hotel Martinez where Randi Barshack (CMO, Samba TV) hosted the panel “Is AI the Promise or Peril to Equality?” featuring Wes Chaar (Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Catalina), Jocelyn Lee (Head of the AI Advertising Practice, Heat), Natalie Monbiot (Founder, Ekletik) and Amanda Terry (VP, Global Partner Development, Acxiom). 

Over the past few years AI and Machine Learning have become ubiquitous buzzwords that many advertising and tech companies are quick to invoke, but slow to dive into specific details about how they are applying these advanced techniques to their business. This panel helped demystify AI and articulate real-life applications from the perspective of industry leaders and experts.  

Randi Barshack also joined Jason Acker (Digital Director, Diageo) and Marta Cyhan-Bowles (CMO, Catalina) on The CMO Club House panel, “The Science Behind Every Buy & A Unique Buyer Behind the Data,” which addressed the importance of understanding the consumer journey from ad exposure to purchase, and how to influence that journey using advanced data and measurement tactics.

Themes & Takeaways

The Future Role of Agencies:

Brands are increasingly taking traditional agency functions in-house: media buying/planning, execution, measurement and even creative production can be achieved with less agency support due to established technologies and tools. One client-side panelist opined that brands are “up-skilling our staff so they can work more intelligently and effectively with agencies.” Not so sure that set any agencies at ease.

OTT’s Inflection Point:

Virtually every panel addressed the shifting TV viewing habits of consumers. Over 50% of consumers now regularly consume video via OTT, and yet advertising dollars towards targeted, addressable TV have lagged, accounting for only $2B of the $70B spent in TV. However, according to industry prognosticators 2020 is poised to be the year where budgets shift dramatically towards OTT. Never mind that everyone said the same about 2019. 

Brand Purpose and Authenticity:

Nowadays it seems that every brand is associated with a societal or charitable cause of some sort, which is fantastic at face-value but there was much talk about how to do it the right way. Consumers are savvy and perceptive; it needs to be part of a brand’s DNA for consumers to identify it as authentic. As an example, a Budweiser VP of Marketing shared how they’ve been pausing their brewing of beer for over 30+ years to fill cans with water crippled by natural disasters. 

Inclusion & Diversity:

There were multiple panels discussing how the industry needs to address its issues with race and gender diversity, particularly in executive roles. Some panels were dedicated to speaking about women, some about people of color, others about LGBTQ and even one from AARP about the spending power of the 50+ crowd that marketers tend to dismiss. The general consensus is that we need to evolve from just talking about these issues to enacting measurable action. 

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