It has always been billed as a festival of creativity. Could this year’s Cannes Lions embody that again, despite the “sciencification” of advertising?

In this video interview with research analyst Joanna O’Connell taped earlier in May for Beet.TV, Adam Gerhart, Global CEO, Mindshare, says ad spend is still growing despite a challenging challenging environment.

And talks about the limitations of performance media and AI.

Ebbing and flowing

“If we look at (advertising) over a three year stack through the pandemic and that sort of thing, it’s up and it’s up pretty substantially,” Gerhart says, depicting three sets of brands moving at different speeds:

  1. Businesses in travel, hospitality and tourism that are bouncing back to post-pandemic spending.
  2. “Steady-state” categories like consumer packaged goods.
  3. Technology and automotive ramping-up production.

Gerhart says: “It kind of balances out and, and we see some ebbs and flows.”

The performance-perception pendulum

Although many brands that are increasing ad spend are doing so in channels through which they can guarantee outcomes, or “performance”, Mindshare’s Gerhart says that tactic is now being seen as having limitations.

“There’s been this mindset over the last 18 months in particular that’s really heightened around short-term performance outcomes,” he says, adding that many companies believe they have overswung on the pendulum and are now starting to see an impact on their brand equity.

“We’ve got big brands and big businesses that are starting to actually see it take an impact and some ramifications on brand equity.”

Gerhart says cutting media investment in pursuit of pure performance is “very short-term”, “that’s not sustainable over the long-term”.

“We are in the service of helping clients understand how they can create meaningful and lasting business results,” he says.

Another area sure to be on lips at Cannes Lions is artificial intelligence.

Gerhart advises clients to approach it with a careful dose of caution. He mentions issues raised around ethics, behavior, and compliance due to generative AI in creative and PR.

For media agencies, the application of AI is more focused on analytics and predicting outcomes rather than building wholesale media plans, he says.

The Role of Media in Advertising

Overall, Mindshare’s Gerhart is excited about a new category at Cannes called “Excellence in Media Craft,” which is exclusive to media agencies.

He believes this will shine a light on the role and emphasis of media in the advertising ecosystem, showcasing its creative, rigorous, and accountable aspects.

“I read a stat the other day that, um, the number of gaming related entries is up 74% over the last couple of years,” he says.

You’re watching “The Road to Cannes 2023 – Making TV Advertising Relevant Across Screens, Platforms and Cultures,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by FreeWheel. For more videos from this series, please visit this page. For more information on FreeWheel’s activations at Cannes Lions 2023, please visit