cannes 2023

As always, last week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity was a whirlwind. Over the course of 4 days, the Dstillery team attended dozens of meetings and met with scores of clients, partners and prospects. Overall, the tone of the festival was optimistic, with positive energy and enthusiasm for the changes that are coming to the industry. The discussions of change encompassed two key themes:

AI is going to change everything.

If there was any overarching theme to the entire festival, it was AI, and how ChatGPT will change nearly every step in the advertising supply chain, from creative concepting and production to media strategy & execution. Nearly every panel, every speech, and every meeting touched on the topic, and many were totally dedicated to it.

Privacy is a global trend.

There was a clear consensus that privacy standards will continue to rise all around the world, and that the advertising industry needs to embrace, not resist, this trend. Under the heading of rising privacy standards, there was also a relatively clear consensus that Google will indeed retire 3P cookies from Chrome on schedule by the end of 2024.

The intersection of AI advances and rising privacy standards represents both a moral hazard and an opportunity for our industry. The risk comes from the inevitable temptation AI presents to use more data than less.

Let’s embrace the movement.

A commonly discussed application for AI during the proceedings in Cannes was to enhance personalization, which of course, more often than not, requires user tracking and targeting. Leveraging user data to inform an AI model which produces personalized advertising experiences may violate the requirement for using less user data to meet the rising privacy standards. Not many of the proponents of more personalization addressed how it could be done while honoring the rising privacy standards.

We believe that the advertising community should embrace the explosion in advanced AI tools as an opportunity to enhance consumer privacy. Dstillery’s ID-free® technology does just that. We apply AI to targeting via a data-minimized opted-in panel, rather than applying it directly to user data in the AdTech ecosystem. In short, the way that we approached the problem allows us to provide some level of the promised personalization of AI while honoring user privacy.

It may sound trite to say that the only constant is change. With the rapid advancements in AI, the pace of change is arguably accelerating futher and faster than anything we’ve ever experienced before. The advertising industry has a real-time opportunity to decide how to best embrace this change, putting AI to work to drive innovation, creativity and growth while at the same embracing the movement for greater consumer privacy.