This sponsored post is produced by Fetch.

Another sunset has called time on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. This year’s annual awards show for the advertising industry went far to demonstrate ad tech’s key role in driving powerful campaigns that resonate with its audience at scale. It also added extra weight to the debate around great creative fuelled by data and technology.

No question, mobile sits perfectly at the intersection of people, data, and message. As one of the most vibrant and potentially noisiest events of the calendar year closed, there’s never been more of a focus on people and audience-first creative work — and mobile is fully integrated into the fabric of pretty much every category of the advertising festival. Without a doubt, it’s the fastest growth sector of the industry; according to eMarketer, by 2019 mobile ad spend will reach $65 billion in the U.S. alone, accounting for almost 75 percent of total digital ad spend.

Formats took a vertical flip and mobile ads will be ‘less creepy’

While Facebook used Cannes to launch a brand new prototype — a 360-degree vertical video ad format which feels way more immersive and native to the app — Snapchat has teamed up with WPP and Daily Mail to monetize its 3V vertical ad format which displays content between a user’s existing content stream. As Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel points out, “We care about not being creepy. That’s something that’s really important to us.”

Facebook’s format pushes rich and immersive content in order to make ads more meaningful by keeping the ads integrated into the social platform. This allows marketers to make custom content that will take over the full screen when clicked on. It’s clear that consumers do not want mobile ads that are overly promotional and self-serving, but rather mobile advertising that will engage and entertain them, and make them feel valued as a customer (or potential customer) at a particular moment. Mobile has the ability, more than any other technology, to engage users based on their interests, location, preferences, etc.

Becky Brown, VP Global Marketing & Communications at Intel agrees; “Don’t underestimate the value that you bring, as long as you bring content that is relevant.” It’s something both data and creative teams will have to work on together to make happen.

Playfulness and storytelling aren’t constricted to a device or platform

“Unless we have something engaging to say, we are just wallpaper,” says Peter Blackshaw, Global Head of Digital & Social Media at Nestle. “People don’t want boring advertising.”

At this year’s Festival, both agencies and tech conglomerates definitely emphasized going beyond traditional ad formats to give users a more engaging experience. And great storytelling these days is fuelled by contextual data.

Platform brands like Spotify and Facebook continued to demonstrate just how their platforms lend themselves well to the art of story-telling — witness the immersive mobile ad experience and powerful personalization in play with the recently-launched Spotify Running service. And this year’s Cannes Lions Innovations welcomed stand-alone and branded technological solutions, with AI entering the mix. The Grand Prix for Innovation went to what3words, a universal addressing system based on a 10-foot global grid that claims it can enable identification of any particular place on the planet through an API which plugs into brands and advertisers.

For creative departments, there’s an imperative to continuously innovate and do so with vigour. Something at Fetch we know only too well, as an agency dedicated to creative departments working alongside developers and data analysts.

With increasing complexity comes a need for simplicity

2015 has been the year of media agency reviews (dubbed “Mediapalooza” by Adweek), with many advertisers seeking to build marketing businesses to meet the connected consumer at the right moment, while juggling the challenges of content, talent, data, creativity, and media transparency.

So while the emergence of ever-more ad technology companies along the Cannes marina increased in 2015, so, too, did the advertisers looking to navigate the ever-changing mobile LUMAscape in order to understand the ‘what, where, and when’ that those specific technologies can bring to advertising.

Unilever Keith’s Weed suggested, “There’s an awful lot we need to do to simplify this business, and I ask you all to step back and simplify what we’re doing.” It’s a debate that’s ongoing and one in which practicality has its place as we encourage mobile advertisers to look beyond the platform or the device, to the person at the end of the device.

It’s been heartening to see a Cannes Festival full of data and technologically-driven ideas, ideas in which quality, an engaging experience, ease of use, utility, and scalability all play a rightfully important role.

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