CMO Today: Publicis’s Cannes Backout Backlash; Amazon’s NFL Ads; Diversity Debate Rages

Greetings from Cannes. We’re at the business end of the advertising festival now and it’s a good time to reflect on some of the excellent campaigns that won awards this year. My personal favorites were State Street’s “Fearless Girl” statue, which took home three Grand Prix, Burger King’s print ads that depicted real restaurants that had burned down, with the tagline “Flame Grilled Since 1954,” and Afghanistan Ministry of Health’s “Immunity Chain” — a beaded bracelet for babies to wear that tells doctors everything they need to know about the child’s vaccinations

I’m not sure many people would have predicted that the big story out of Cannes this year was the fact that one ad group has decided it’s had enough. Loyal readers of this newsletter will remember that earlier this week, Publicis Groupe announced it will be skipping Cannes in 2018 and will reroute the savings into an artificial intelligence platform called Marcel. It’s all anyone can talk about this week. But as my CMO Today colleagues in Cannes reported, Publicis staffers are miffed. Publicis Groupe CEO Arthur Sadoun said in a memo to staff that “early feedback has been overwhelmingly positive.” I can just imagine the conversation, over a glass of champagne on a Michelin Star beach restaurant: “Yes, Arthur, the industry really must cut *sip* down on this *glug* sort of thing.” Meanwhile, Cannes Lions managing director Jose Papa told The Drum “there are a lot of misconceptions about the expense” of the event. He also said, in his previous sentence in the interview, that passes start at €1,595 for two days.

We’ve been hearing during Cannes about Amazon’s ability to upend the ad business on so many fronts — with its data, burgeoning ad tech play and, of course, its media adventures. Now, here’s something: Reuters reports that Amazon is planning to charge advertisers $2.8 million for ad packages so they can appear during the National Football League games it plans to stream this coming season. Amazon is reportedly offering ten 30-second slots each game, plus ads on Amazon.com during the football season. Amazon seems to be undercutting Twitter, which reportedly charged advertisers up to $8 million for its NFL streaming ad packages –…