CANNES LIONS 2018


Smartzer is at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the largest gathering of the advertising and creative communications industry. Think meeting-after-meeting with agencies and media companies, the backdrop of the beautiful French Riviera, and yachts. Paradise for the creative mind? Yes!

This is our second year attending Cannes Lions and this year were very honoured to be selected for the R/GA Ventures Start-Up Academy. Smartzer was one of eight female-founded start-ups chosen out of a pool of 250+ applicants for R/GA’s Fourth Annual Start-up Academy. The start-ups were selected from around the globe and include: Perksy, a next generation marketing tool founded by Toronto native Nadia Masri, which powers real-time surveys for millennials and Generation Z through mobile. Camera IQ is a camera marketing tool which integrates OS platforms, AR toolkits, and native apps into a single fabric to make it easy for brands to create mixed reality content and VR experiences for their consumers.


When selecting the start-ups, R/GA Ventures noted that similar patterns emerged between the solutions offered by the start-ups and the current needs of brands and agencies. First off, the struggle for meaningful information. Although it is the information age, with so much data out there it is difficult for brands to identify meaningful insights about their consumers behaviours and beliefs. The start-ups selected for the Academy are developing new tools for data capture that go beyond the traditional – giving marketers information they wouldn’t otherwise come to and enabling them to act on it. Smartzer analytics, for example, give insight into the most engaging products and this can assist the brand in making future production and buying choices.

R/GA ventures also looked for start-ups that are focused on the next generation of social media. Millennials and Gen-Z grew up with social media and they expect more from the platforms they interact with and R/GA saw potential in Smartzer’s ability to make social channels smarter. Smartzer tech seamlessly makes any brand’s video shoppable on website and social channels. The younger generations spend so much time interacting with videos and images on social media that shoppable ads are the best way to reach them, and the fact Smartzer makes the videos for these ads shoppable and interactive within the apps allows for a seamless experience.

The forward-thinking female founders were invited to share their innovative products and services with global brand and agency leaders. These corporates also invest some time advising and coaching the founders. These newly-built relationships foster innovative information exchange between corporates and start-ups.

Karoline and the Smartzer team headed to Cannes on Sunday June 17th to begin an exciting schedule of training and meetings setup by R/GA. Sunday kicked-off with a Meet & Greet between key corporates and the eight start-ups participating in the Academy.

Monday started with an official welcome session, a tour of the Palais Convention Centre which allowed us to see more agencies and companies participating in the event, and speaker session by R/GA’s Jessica Greenwood the SVP of Strategy at R/GA USA. This was followed by very helpful mentor office hours and networking cocktails with Interpublic Group (IPG).


Smartzer kicked-off Tuesday with an informative session with Chairman & CEO of IPG Michael Roth, followed by an informative Q&A on Start-up Press by Campaign US editor Lindsay Stein. Some of the Smartzer team also headed to Teads Salon where CBS, Digiday, and IPG discussed “Video Everywhere” which was the perfect topic for Smartzer shoppable video. After that we met with the Pinterest team at Cannes and got to see the new FabFitFun Pinterest Box which includes all of the product’s top-rated trends in beauty, wellness and apparel. What was next? Sixteen meetings with agency heads and brand CMOs.

We are excited for what the rest of the week has to offer.

Read more about Cannes Lions 2018:

"The Drum @ Cannes Lions 2018: Brands are starting to visually disappear, sonic branding is the future" - The Drum

#CannesLions #RGA #Startup #Academy

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