Cannes: Celebs Trump Brands

Cannes 2016If you’re fresh back from Cannes, or indeed still out there, you’ll know that celebs are a fairly big part of the programme, rightly or wrongly, depending who you speak to. So for this year’s Festival, location ad tech company xAd decided to use its tech to try and see who drew the biggest crowds, using data from the official Cannes Lions app and xAd’s own app, The Scoop.

xAd used its proprietary Blueprint technology to create polygons around each of the most popular locations along the Croisette and beyond, then looked at footfall at various venues around Cannes on Tuesday, 21 June.

Sure enough, it found that actor Will Smith drew the biggest crowd at the Palais at 11am, beating Usher and editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Anna Wintour. Traffic spiked again at this location though when the crowds gathered for Rooftop Rosé in the afternoon, proving that there’s more to Cannes than celebs. That’s right – free wine.

Away from the conference, The InterContinental Carlton Cannes was crowned most popular location. The venue held the number one spot in the early morning, as well as through the evening as delegates flocked to the hotel for networking and parties. In fact, over 10 per cent of total daily foot traffic was seen at this venue.

The hotel dropped to the number two spot during the day when footfall headed towards Facebook Beach. This location saw a peak in footfall over the lunchtime period (12pm – 2pm) on Tuesday, when there was actually no official event taking place. Alongside Facebook, YouTube hosted a programme of Lightning Talks at the Plage du Gray d’Albion, which was the fourth most popular location during the day.

xAD EMEA GM Theo Theodorou said: “Some industry leaders have questioned whether Cannes Lions should focus on celebrity speakers, rather than other wider industry issues. However, these celebrity talks do provide unique insights into personal branding on an international scale and the power of influencer marketing. Location is a great indicator of engagement, intent and action, and the data can provide valuable information about the behaviour of customers and what they want from their experience of a brand, or event in this case.”

If xAd had repeated the experiment yesterday, it would have found heavy footfall towards Nice airport, followed by a several hours of inactivity as thousands of travellers waited around at the mercy of the French air traffic controllers’ latest strike action…