Cannes Cuts Bloat; Dentsu Turns In Mixed Q3

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Don’t Rock The Yacht

Cannes caught a lot of flak last year from agency leaders who declared the bloated festival had become too expensive. The festival’s parent company, Ascential, will reduce the festival from seven days to five, shave the price of a ticket by 900 euros and work with the city of Cannes on fixed-price transportation and meals so that the overall event is more accessible for agency teams. On top of that, creative awards will be reduced by 120 subcategories to reduce “the overlap between different Lions,” reports Alex Bruell for The Wall Street Journal. More. But what about the tech scene that takes place on rooftops and yachts? “There’s been no change in policy with regards fringe events,” an Ascential spokesperson told AdExchanger, so ad tech companies and platforms can still dish it out for their yachts and beach parties.

Dentsu’s Data Push

To round off a disappointing holding company earnings season, Dentsu reported organic growth fell 2.1% in Q3 and organic profit fell 1% for the first nine months of the year. But there was a silver lining: Revenue for the first nine months of the year was up 11.7% to $5.8 billion. Read the results. Dentsu CEO Toshihiro Yamamoto echoed other holding company CEOs by citing challenging market conditions for the agency business. He also alluded to Merkle’s M1 platform, which will serve as a data platform for the entire group, as a potential boon to its digital business going forward. “Dentsu Aegis Network delivered almost 60% of gross profit from digital and remains focused on delivering leading data-driven marketing solutions to real people through the rollout of Merkle’s M1 data platform,” Yamamoto said on the earnings call. MediaPost has more.

It’s All Politics

Facebook said it will support the Federal Election Commission’s efforts to regulate online political ads by helping the organization clarify when companies should disclose who bought political ads and what exactly the disclosure should include. But Facebook wants the FEC to be flexible about how those disclosures will look. Facebook is angling for a less-is-more look. For example, the platform recently said it will starting including icons on candidate-focused ads that link to more information. But Facebook doesn’t want to get involved in regulating issues-based ads that push divisive topics to polarized audiences, like those bought by Russia to influence the 2016 election, because that would require the platform to make editorial decisions about what ads need to be regulated. Recode has more. Also in Recode: Russia is just one of 30 countries to use social and online media to influence election outcomes. More.

A Storied History

Facebook may have created its first Instagram Stories feature – an unabashed copy of the original Snapchat Stories – just to head off a fast-growing rival. But it’s since fully embraced the narrative-style video product “with features Snapchat can’t match in a bid to boost usage,” writes Josh Constine at TechCrunch. On Tuesday, Facebook started allowing people in Groups and Events to contribute posts to a single story and debuted a stripped-down Stories version for Facebook Lite, its low-data alternative in less developed markets. Stories will now be synced across Facebook and Messenger. More.

AI In The Cloud

Among the marketing clouds, one has been notably quiet about artificial intelligence. Salesforce has Einstein. IBM has Watson. Adobe has Sensei. Whither Oracle? In a CNBC interview, CEO Mark Hurd implied that many AI pitches are a cynical ploy for higher valuations. “Everybody in the Valley is saying they’re in AI. … Most of the time it’s just nonsense. By the way, do you hear the term ‘big data’ anymore? It died. It’s just AI.” Watch the segment.

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