June 22, 2023
4 min

Live from Cannes: Friday, June 23rd

A brand battle between streaming giants, the Apple ad up to win it all, AI in sports, and more

Vibe check 

Today is the last day we’ll be reporting from Cannes, and what a week it’s been. 

“I’m leaving feeling especially energized by discussions around the real world, ambitious applications of AI and AR in sports—seeing these groundbreaking technologies rise to the surface in this space offers other industries a template for taking their activations to the next level,” Elspeth Rollert, CMO of Stagwell Marketing Cloud told me. 

Rollert hosted a panel conversation at Stagwell’s Sport Beach this week on the very topic with Microsoft’s Chief Brand Officer Kathleen Hall; CEO and Chairman of Stagwell Mark Penn; and Josh Beatty, the founder and CEO of ARound. 

“We were kind of early entries in the application of AI application to sports,” Hall told Rollert. “Some of the things you may have seen are how we are integrating with the NBA—a lot of it is around performance enhancement and fan enhancement through the data exposure that they get so you can be more involved in the game.”

Cannes this year was practically an incubator for all things AI, and the learnings were tremendous. 

Heading into the last night of awards, we have Film Lions, Glass: The Lion for Change, Sustainable Development Goal Lions, and Titanium Lions.

Brand Battle 

Spotify v. Netflix

Every day this week, we pulled two big brands showing up at Cannes and looking into the emotional associations consumers have with each using data from Harris Brand Platform. Today, let’s see how Spotify and Netflix compare. 

Graph showing how people view Spotify vs. Netflix.
Harris BrandPlatform. 1/1/2023–6/11/2023. Base: Consumers 18+ who identify as LGBTQ+. Spotifyn=230; Netflix, n=519.

Two streaming giants, two different mediums, two different perceptions. 

For LGBTQ+ consumers familiar with both brands, Spotify wins in the hip, young, and energetic categories in comparison to Netflix. For the same group, Netflix is viewed as more corporate, unconventional, and innovative than Spotify—although not by very large margins. 

Spotify’s extreme lead in the “hip” category could be attributed to many things. For one, their yearly Spotify Wrapped campaign (up for multiple awards at Cannes this year) cements them year after year as a leader in design, data visualization, and culture. They continue to make their brand relevant through clever and intentional marketing initiatives that speak to their target demographic: listeners between 25 and 34 (this is the largest group on the platform—they make up 29% of users). 

When it comes to the obvious preference for Spotify as a brand from the LGBTQ+ community, it may have something to do with Netflix’s choice in 2021 to air (and not take down) a special from comedian Dave Chappelle that many viewed as transphobic. Both Netflix employees and LGBTQ+ protesters took to calling Netflix out for this, orchestrating an employee walkout.

Brand spotlight 

Torrents of Truth

Partnered with 72andSunny, Torrents of Truth is up for a Sustainable Development Goals Lion with the work it is doing to spread news updates about the war in Ukraine to Russian citizens through pirated torrents. 

While extreme censorship has been on the rise since the start of the war (more than 610,000 web pages were blocked or removed by Russian authorities in 2022 according to internet rights group Net Freedoms), the president of Russia Vladimir Putin reportedly legalized the piracy of games, movies, and other forms of media last May as a result of the western sanctions limiting the supply of new films, tv shows, and video games to the country. 

With the knowledge that 43% of Russians reportedly obtain movies and TV shows illegally, Torrents of Truth is taking to torrent trackers like RuTracker, Demonoid, and The Pirate Bay to upload news from journalists reporting on the war disguised as some of the most frequently downloaded movies to spread “unbiased, trustworthy news in a country where TV and newspapers aren’t allowing it anymore,” according to the ToT website. 

So far 21 torrents have been uploaded and four journalists have been enlisted to speak up about what is going on in Ukraine.


Apple’s “The Greatest” was shortlisted for a whopping ten awards at Cannes this year, all leading up to a potential coveted Titanium Lion.

Probably the most sought-after award in the industry, a Titanium Lion “stops you in your tracks and make you consider the way forward,” according to Dan Weiden, founder of agency Weiden and Kennedy. 

And “The Greatest” absolutely makes a case for its inclusion among the best of the best at Cannes this year. The 2 minute and 15 second look into how people with disabilities leverage Apple’s new and existing capabilities to make their lives easier is inspiring, joyful, and upbeat. 

“Make it yours. Make it big. Make it clear. Make it speak. Make it listen. Make it simple. Make Apple yours. Built-in features designed for you to make something wonderful,” campaign copy reads on Apple’s revamped accessibility landing page. 

While “The Greatest” also showed up in categories like Film Craft Lions, Entertainment Lions, and Entertainment Lions for Music, its inclusion in the Titanium category speaks to the relevance and artistry of the ad.

Up against Intel’s fight against deepfakes, Partners Life’s goal to get New Zealanders covered with life insurance, and 16 others, who will take the award home?

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