CANNES — Two watchwords were on the lips of most advertising execs who gathered at the Cannes Lions festival this year. One was “authenticity“. The other, “transparency”.

Across the industry, advertisers – alarmed by the revelation that many ad views are invoked without a real human audience – are aiming for full visibility of audience data, and a thorough understanding of what their agencies are doing for them.

That’s why agencies debated the topic during a panel discussion in the south of France…

DigitasLBi international chief media officer Paul Dalton:

“The focus on non-transaparent practices has hurt the relationship agencies have with their clients. It was driven by a focus on short-term revenues. That short-termist view is going to hurt in the long run. Transparency is crucial, it’s the underpinning to trust.”

Merkle programmatic head Mac Delaney:

“Marketers have gotten more sophisticated much faster than their agencies. You are beyond contrarian if you still have an offering that’s opaque. It is beyond table stakes, in my opinion.”

Havas Media Group programmatic head Hossein Houssaini:

“Transparency can be a tsunami for an advertiser. He doesn’t know how to deal with it. It’s not just cost – it’s the way you optimise, the sequence you use. He won’t understand it … It’s not enough to say,’ we need transparency’ – we need to say, overall, ‘how do we bring value to the client?'”

Mediavest|Spark ad-tech EVP Oleg Korenfeld:

“We believe in being transparent with everything we do and how we’re doing it. But it’s impossible to be 100% transparent about everything. That’s why agencies are audited by clients.”

Accordant Media co-founder Art Muldoon:

“You have to be transparent to be true to the trusted client relationship that you have. Transparency unlocks better solutions … by creating a collaborative relationship. The client has more at stake than ever because of first-party data. You need an open, transparent dialogue to get the most out of their data.”


This video was produced  by Beet.TV at the Rubicon Project’s Rooftop Summit on Automated Advertising at Cannes Lions 2016.   The series is sponsored by the RubiconProject.   For more videos from the series, please visit this page.