With the 2024 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity just days away, we tapped President of Quad Media Joshua Lowcock for his thoughts on the hot trends and topics he’s expecting at the industry’s biggest global meetup, and how the conversation around data, creativity and transparency needs to evolve. 

Q. What do you think the dominant themes will be at this year’s Cannes?

AI and sustainability are on the bingo card but I am hoping there is real conversation around the importance of trust. Trust permeates all aspects of the marketing experience, from the promises brands make to customers to how data is collected and used to where ads appear. We need to have a conversation about what is being done to restore trust. 

Catch Quad at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

Q. How are trends in creativity and changing consumer behavior shaping the data environment? What types of new approaches might become necessary?

The most telling thing is that Apple’s creative always marketed privacy as a feature, which has implications for data. Over the past year, I’ve seen more companies adopt this position from other large players to startups. The fact that some of the best creative I have seen plays to consumers concerns around data collection, use and privacy means marketers need to reflect on what this means for the way they go to market today — this is one of the reasons I put trust as a topic we need to discuss. 

Q. You’ve spoken about the need to re-commit to transparency in agency/brand relationships. Why is that so critical now?

The adoption of AI and the acceleration of automation means it’s easier than ever for marketers budgets to be incinerated without delivering the best outcome. The need for transparency is more important than ever because it’s the only way we can collectively, as an industry, put client interests first, address issues with misaligned incentives and ensure marketing budgets receive the proper stewardship they deserve.  

Q. What types of discussions are you hoping to have about data privacy?

The conversation I hope to have is: What are we doing as an industry to get control over our destiny with a resilient data offering, and to not be subject to the whims of platforms that are motivated by their own self-interest, despite claims otherwise? 

Q. You can spot a great data-driven campaign more quickly and accurately than most. What gets you excited about this aspect of our discipline?

The thing that gets me excited is when I see data inform creativity being effective at getting the right message in front of the right people or audience is par for the course. What gets me excited is when I see great creative inspired and informed by data. 

Q. What advice would you give to colleagues looking to stand out and make a lasting impression in France this year?

Stay hydrated, walk everywhere and often, and don’t miss the opportunity to have impromptu conversations and meetings. That’s what sparks creativity.  

Q: This is your first time at Cannes as President of Quad Media. What is the one thing you want people to learn about Quad at this year’s festival?

That marketers have a real choice if they want a smarter and more effective partner that operates with the transparency the industry needs. That choice is Quad. 

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