KX in Cannes: Does Good Creative Tell a Story or Know Your Story?

Before I had any idea how complicated and involved the process of getting an ad to a consumer was, advertising, to me, was the creative. It was all about what I saw, where I saw it, and how it made me feel. I got into advertising because of the TV spots that become cultural phenomena, the jingles that won’t leave your head, and the glossy pages with models of selves we aspire to become (with the help of the brand, of course). I think creative is what makes advertising work.

Some completely disagree. They argue it’s not creative and instead it’s targeting and left brain decisions that get the creative to the right person that makes real impact. As programmatic becomes more and more mainstream and advertisers use it to execute an increasing proportion of their digital budgets, the ability to affect a consumer through logic and math is one that’s hard to ignore.

The reality is that creative in advertising is limitless, especially now. Creative teams have a wealth of canvases – the images, videos, and experiences the teams create can come to life in diverse ways, in different places. Conversely, the tech side of advertising is connected to these many canvases. Advertising exchanges, like Index, can sell ad space on myriad digital properties and in a range of formats. Advertisers can execute a cross-platform, cross-device experience for their audiences programmatically.

However, we could do this better. Innovations like header tag, the prevalence of private marketplaces, and increased interaction between advertiser and publisher all help strengthen the possibility of really impressive creative, but there are some roadblocks in the way.

First, we need to figure out, as an industry, how good is too good? In programmatic, does good creative tell a story or does it know your story? Also, we need to examine why programmatic creative isn’t more creative. Why aren’t more brands building programmatic stories for audiences?  Is the tech and targeting not yet there? Perhaps it’s an organizational issue: the creative and media buying teams at agencies are notoriously siloed.

Cannes is a celebration of advertising creativity, which is why we think it’s the perfect forum to debate what good creative means in programmatic, today, and how programmatic will push creative further in the future. On Monday at 12 pm (Cannes time) Index Exchange will host a panel on the future of programmatic creativity on the Mail Online Yacht in Cannes to figure out what’s going on creatively in programmatic (RSVP here).

We hand-picked the panel to present a range of opinions, from all advertising perspectives: Ben Lerer, CEO of Thrillist, represents a publisher to which stories are critical, Jim Lesser, President and CEO of BBDO San Francisco, brings the agency (and Google intern!) point of view, Rich Caccappolo, COO of Daily Mail is a programmatically bullish publisher with massive reach, and finally, Andrew Casale, CEO of Index Exchange, speaks from the tech underpinning side of the market. Jack Neff, of AdAge, will ask the tough questions.

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