?”What’s harder to survive, Squid Game or Cannes Lions?” asks a black and white billboard on the rooftop of Cannes’ JW Marriot hotel, which houses Netflix’s festival activities.

It’s the streamer’s second formal appearance at the annual creative conference, rubbing shoulders with marketers and persuading them to shift funds to its ad tier, which now has 40 million monthly active users.

And, following a buzzy upfronts season in which it announced ambitions to establish an adtech stack and stunned everyone by securing the rights to the NFL Christmas Day games, Netflix’s VP of advertising, Amy Reinhard, is even more certain that the company will not just survive but thrive at Cannes.

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“This is my first time at Cannes, and what strikes me the most is the level of creativity. As much as we are a technology company, our connection to creative is our lifeblood,” Reinhard told ADWEEK. “You see all these prolific brands here, too, so it’s good for us to stand amongst them.”

Netflix’s pitch to advertisers is based on its content and creative abilities, and its location is a shrine to its series.

There are interactive experiences throughout, like an Emily in Paris Boulangerie, a Squid Game challenge, a Bridgerton garden, and more. Janelle Monáe and Kaytranada have made appearances at several parties this week. There’s also a sports lounge with NFL and WWE logos.

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Except for one open afternoon, the facility has been closed to the public and designated for executives, guests, and the media. Reinhard explained that the activation needed to be social so that fans could “touch and feel” Netflix.

EMarketer predicts that Netflix’s young ad business will generate $1 billion in ad revenue by 2024, but a stroll down the Côte d’Azur reveals that competition for these dollars is fierce. Amazon and YouTube have gone big with their activations, while Disney used the festival to announce intentions to expand its ad platform to include a broader range of sponsors.

Reinhard revealed that her “secret sauce” for standing out from the Cannes crowd has been collaborating with Netflix’s CMO, Marian Lee, who helps bring Netflix’s brand story to life when addressing senior marketers.

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The popular series Squid Game had its own special section for attendees.Netflix
Following the wave of upfront announcements, the executive has used Cannes to face queries from clients and potential clients.

“We’re getting asked a lot about our tech roadmap and what our plan is there, and we’re seeing a lot of interest from clients in being closer to the content—so they want to know more about our integrated marketing experiences,” she told me.

Attendees could interact with displays.Netflix
Netflix is expected to launch its own adtech server by 2025, gradually transitioning away from Microsoft’s adtech, which presently drives its digital ad serving. Microsoft will retain Netflix’s programmatic partner, with The Trade Desk, Google’s Display & Video 360, and Magnite joining the list this summer.

Though ads have been on Netflix for about a year and a half, and the company has been adding partners to help advertisers measure and verify the impact of campaigns, such as Affinity Solutions, DoubleVerify, EDO, TVision, and Nielsen, ad buyers recently told ADWEEK that the streamer still lacks some technical capabilities that most of its competitors have. This covers capabilities such as advanced targeting and purchasing goods in biddable programmatic situations.

CMO Marian Lee is putting Netflix at the center of culture to increase viewing and ad revenue.
What’s the Deal with the Netflix Effect?

Netflix’s advertising strategy is still in development, with co-CEO Greg Peters stating ahead of the TV upfront that the streamer has “plenty more” to do to “realize the potential.”

For the time being, Reinhard stated that initial conversations are still in their early phases and progressing at a slower pace than typical, but she anticipates increased activity in coming weeks. Meanwhile, clients seek a clear schedule for the streamer’s ad tech stack.

“It came together so quickly. We’re working on the intersection of all of these topics. “For example, programmatic and measurement are inextricably linked,” Reinhard explained. “Before we [announce] bits and pieces about each thing, we need to make sure we [lock down] the integrated story.”

She promised an update on the roadmap in “weeks to months.”