Home Daily News Roundup Playing Palais Politics; Can X Win Back Big Brands – Or Anyone Else?

Playing Palais Politics; Can X Win Back Big Brands – Or Anyone Else?

Comic: The Bird Is Freed?

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Creatives, Meet Ad Tech

The HQ for creatives at the Cannes Lions is the Palais, and that’s where Google’s new-ish VP and GM of ads, Vidhya Srinivasan, delivered her keynote speech Wednesday. Addressing a crowd of creative types, she showed off features like typefaces styled as Jell-O or pancakes. Products fluttered in the wind against generative AI backgrounds. Similar to Microsoft’s Cannes tagline, “AI is not creative. You are,” Srinivasan struck a reassuring tone. She showed off how generative AI made it easier for Google Pixel to spin up dozens of creative variations for its phones, automating away the human drudgery and duplication. Or so the story goes.  

“We will continue to need creative and media agencies,” Srinivasan told AdExchanger during a press roundtable following the session. She pointed out that automated bidding, a product that faced similar industry concerns, simply brought campaigns to market faster. And generative AI can accomplish that thing media people love best; it can improve results. 

“Creative innovation can lead to better ad performance,” Srinivasan said.

X Marks The Spot

Cannes Lions always stirs up new business between advertisers, publishers and ad tech companies.

But for Elon Musk and X, it’s a much-needed shot at redemption. Advertisers have ditched X since Musk’s takeover – including a hearty “go f—k themselves” he directed to marketers last year. Even the appointment of NBCU’s Linda Yaccarino, a top ad sales vet, hasn’t swayed advertisers.

Which means Musk and Yaccarino have spent the past couple of days at Cannes in meetings with advertisers and agency leaders in hopes of persuading them to return to the beleaguered (abandoned? self-impaled?) social network, ad execs tell Ad Age

Advertisers, however, have little interest in hearing Musk out or returning to the one-time Twitter.

Another option for X is to give up on winning back big brands, who’ll leave the next time Musk says something beyond the pale. Instead, Twitter could invest in its Conversions API and direct response products, like how Meta and Snapchat have pivoted. 

However, even that wouldn’t do it. Because X’s real problem, and the real reason advertisers don’t return, is its loss of Twitter’s scaled user base and cultural cache.


Here’s an example of how modern political advertising and fundraising continues to turn the general population against political messaging whatsoever, while actually sort of accomplishing the fundraising and campaign goals. 

This year, people in states with highly contested Senate races are probably going to see a deluge of crypto-related persuasion ads promoting conservative candidates, who tend to be backers of crypto-favored policies. 

It’s not really an animating or hot-button issue, but three companies that are heavily or entirely invested in crypto – Ripple, Coinbase and the VC firm Andreessen Horowitz – have already set aside $150 million for issue ads. 

General crypto supporters probably wish the category wouldn’t become a political football, just like many Tesla owners who were early adopters of electric cars wish Musk wouldn’t associate the brand with right-wing politics. 

Candidates are all over it, because the whales are giving away millions of dollars. But people will bear the brunt of it, primarily in the form of endless attack ads that don’t interest them. 

Hooray 2024!

But Wait, There’s More!

Investment bankers and private equity firms turn up en masse to Cannes – ‘Here to hunt.’ [Digiday]

Google has new FAQs about AI Overviews, including one for “Why can’t I disable AI Overviews?” Which, too bad, you can’t. [Search Engine Roundtable]

Apple has ‘very serious’ issues under sweeping EU digital rules, competition chief says. [CNBC]

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