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At Cannes, Amazon’s Twitch makes its pitch to advertisers

Amazon’s popular gaming streaming service (and a whole lot more) is live, interactive, community-based, and full of young people. What’s not to like? Well, it’s complicated.

At Cannes, Amazon’s Twitch makes its pitch to advertisers
[Photo: courtesy of Cannes Lions]

Here in Cannes, while Sheryl Sandberg managed to charm a roomful of advertising and marketing folks, rivals for people’s time and attention made their own pitch for those advertisers’ dollars to reach their increasingly attractive and far less toxic audiences.

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Most Popular Cannes Lions n00b: Twitch

Step one in Amazon‘s interactive streaming platform getting a fresh look from marketers: a shiny Grand Prix win for Wendy’s “Keeping Fortnite Fresh” stunt late last year on Twitch. Step two: set up camp on the Croissette for the first time during the festival to talk to global agencies and brands about how they too can chase shiny lion baubles and consumers through its platform.

I met up with chief revenue officer Walker Jacobs in Twitch’s temporary Cannes HQ, and he told me he’s been busy educating brands in the art of bits, emotes, raiding streams, and more of Twitch’s peculiarities. “Twitch is complicated, and there’s a lot of nuance to Twitch, so we have a tremendous responsibility to education and investing in it, spending time with agencies and helping them understand the capabilities and possibilities of what they can do, and really helping creatives unlock their ideas on Twitch.”

The attraction to Twitch is obvious: It’s live, it’s interactive, it’s community-based, and it’s full of young people. What’s not to like? “The combination of those things, plus that we reach an audience that have migrated away from traditional TV in gen Z and millennials, is what’s primarily driving the interest,” says Jacobs, whose been at the company for six months and is a vet of such media brands as Clear Channel and Turner. “We present to this marketplace a great complement to their broadcast and cable television (advertising) buys.”

Translation: It’s a new digital platform that speaks old-school advertiser language.

“Twitch has a solution called sure stream, which is a server-to-server integration, which allows us to put ads directly into the stream, evade ad blockers, and measure them with classic measurement on a server basis,” Jacobs explains. “We’re selling commercial pods. That’s the primary way brands are investing in us. We’re selling commercials that work.”

The pitch is working. Charlie Chappell, head of integrated media and communications at Hershey, told AdAge’s podcast a few weeks ago that its results on Twitch have been “unbelievable.”

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That, and a Grand Prix trophy, goes a long way.

Cancellation of the Day

Amid a chorus of protests against his appearance, former Cambridge Analytica founder and CEO Alexander Nix announced he was backing out of his scheduled appearance at Cannes Lions. Nix was to host a session Thursday called “Trumped by Data” (get it?).

Trophy Time

Direct Grand Prix
Burger King “Whopper Detour” by FCB New York

Creative Data Grand Prix
Black & Abroad “Go Back To Africa” by FCB/Six

PR Grand Prix
The Female Company “The Tampon Book” by Scholz & Friends (Berlin)

Creative Strategy Grand Prix
Volvo “The E.V.A. Initiative” by Forsman & Bodenfors

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.

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