Cannes 2024 recap - a celebration of retail media, connected commerce, and more

Read on for a robust summary of Flywheel’s three main takeaways from Cannes Lions 2024 - connected commerce, tying marketing efforts to sales outcomes becoming a reality, and the longevity of social commerce.

Written by
Alex McCord
July 8, 2024
Cannes 2024 recap - a celebration of retail media, connected commerce, and more

Table of contents

The world’s largest advertisers came together just a few weeks ago for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. If we had to summarize the event in only a few words - it would be that retail media showed up in full force and isn’t going anywhere.

As the advertising and retail industries have evolved, it makes complete sense that while Cannes Lions still celebrates creativity across traditional advertising vehicles, we’re seeing retail media and commerce as a whole increasingly take up stage and conversation space at the event. Brands want to be able to tie their marketing efforts to sales outcomes, and retail media has gotten us much closer to that goal by making first-party data accessible to brands via the various retail media networks.

At the event, it was impossible not to see retailer presence - whether that be Amazon’s takeover of the port, Walmart’s presence at the top of the Magestic, or any other retailer’s cabana or stage presence. Speaking of stage presence - for the first time ever, retail media made its way to the main stage and our very own CPO, Christine Gambino, discussed how the future of live sports is measurable with Alan Moss from Amazon Ads and Lori Shambro from Energizer. 

Beyond the exciting presence of retail media as a whole, our team has put together three main takeaways and observations from the event:

1. The future of commerce is connected 

Connected commerce has been a hot topic, long before Cannes. As the retail landscape continues to evolve, the lines between in-store, eCommerce, social media, and beyond blur more and more. This shift has led to a more seamless and ubiquitous process which has had a direct effect on consumer shopping behavior. In a recent study, Omnicom Media Group (OMG), found that 80% of consumers now bypass traditional shopping steps in the purchase journey, often jumping directly from inspiration to purchase. Much of this funnel fluidity is driven by retailers, like Amazon and Walmart, as they make it easier for consumers to find and compare brands, and discover new products. 58% of consumers say they spend more time on big retailers than in the past.

As a brand, understanding your customer’s most common paths to purchase (and repurchase) will help shape future decisions, from media investment decisions to creative strategies to product innovations. Your retail media network partners are a rich source of data that can be used to understand how your customers traverse retailer touchpoints on the journey to buying your products.

2. Innovation > optimization > innovation 

For decades, brands have longed to tie their marketing efforts back to purchases. While in the past it felt impossible, shifts in consumer behavior and retailer investments in their retail media networks are making this dream a reality. At Cannes, we saw the launch of several innovations and partnerships with this outcome in mind: 

  • Omnicom and Amazon Ads partner to directly tie linear and CTV investment to purchases made on Amazon. Omnicom and Amazon have partnered to help our brands improve and advance the efficiency and effectiveness of their holistic video investments. The partnership enables views into unduplicated reach, sales impact insights, and enriched audience development to inform sophisticated planning, activation, and measurement. 
  • Instacart makes YouTube ads shoppable for CPG brands. Instacart-powered shoppable YouTube ads will help select brands to turn their YouTube ads into instantly shoppable experiences powered by Instacart’s retail media technology and fulfillment network. Shoppable video campaigns on YouTube will leverage Instacart’s first-party data to identify and reach high-intent consumers and receive closed-loop measurement.

When upper funnel and traditional media become measurable, we unlock opportunities to drive innovation across every aspect of the marketing process, not just media delivery. Through a closed-loop model, brands can now not only optimize where their ad shows, but can make real-time creative changes using AI to maximize messaging effectiveness with the consumer. This allows for innovation and optimization in a robust flywheel.

3. Social commerce and influencer marketing is here to stay

Social media and influencers continue to drive major shifts in how consumers discover brands and products and ultimately make purchases. Influencers are becoming engines of commerce, driving net-new purchases, where the consumer can go from inspiration to purchase within just a few seconds. Consumers admit that 42% of purchases inspired by an influencer were spontaneous. 

Leveraging social and influencer marketing can help drive discoverability and new-to-brand purchases. But authenticity matters. Consumers are highly tuned into these channels and will quickly tune out anything that feels contrived and produced. Brands must find ways to create authentic brand experiences with micro-influencers that move the needle. 

Retailers have taken note of this shift, and over the past year have actively sought out partnerships with social media platforms to better support brands and advertisers. As social commerce continues to grow, we’ll see new opportunities for end-to-end tracking with closed-loop measurement a key focus for all involved. TikTok has already made this a possibility with the introduction of TikTok Shop and we foresee retailers and social platforms continue to build out these capabilities for the future. 

With Flywheel’s certification as a TikTok Shop partner, we can now feed in-app purchase data from within TikTok back into media campaign planning and activation processes to support analytics and campaign performance. The ability to tie creators to sales performance will be a game-changer during this new era of social commerce. 

Additional session highlights

Flywheel’s CEO Duncan Painter on stage with Walmart’s Seth Dallaire and Omnicom Media Group’s Joanna O’Connell on The Future of Commerce with Walmart


The consumer journey is no longer linear and data is more important than ever - Walmart is striving to provide data solutions via its Luminate platform that can help brands better understand consumers and unlock opportunities to enhance brand performance online and in-store.

Flywheel’s Claudia Johnson on stage with Omnicom Media Group, TikTok, & Bayer discussing social commerce & driving sales and resonance on TikTok Shop


Creators are essential demand generators, and brands can now scale content via TikTok’s enhanced capabilities. Brands need to work with influencers to create resonating content that solves the needs and problems of the end user.

Flywheel’s Alex McCord on stage discussing the new rules of engagement for commerce & retail


As the funnel evolves,  modern brands must adopt transformative strategies to thrive. These are the new rules of engagement: 

  1. Consumers don’t only shop online or offline

  2. Content captures people’s attention and therefore needs to be the primary focus

  3. Video allows brands to tell their story while driving discovery at scale

To recap

Retail media is here to stay, driven by connected commerce, the tying of marketing efforts to sales outcomes in an increasingly deterministic manner, and the power of social commerce combined with closed-loop measurement.

Cheers to next year!

Alex McCord
Alex McCord
President, Flywheel
Alex McCord
President, Flywheel

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