The Collaborative Relationship between Branding and Performance Marketing: Insights from Wavemaker’s Sharb Farjami

# The Road to Cannes 2023 – Making TV Advertising Relevant Across Screens, Platforms, and Cultures

This year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity brings a fresh perspective to the Media Lions awards. With a rapidly changing media landscape, the criteria for these awards have been updated to better reflect the impact of the evolving marketplace on media buyers. Advertisers and agencies are grappling with economic uncertainty and its effect on consumer behavior. However, there is some optimism as experts believe that the economic headwinds may not be as severe as anticipated.

During times of economic slowdown, brands have the opportunity to boost market share and maintain their gains during the recovery phase. Brand consistency plays a crucial role in building trust among consumers, and advertising continues to be important during uncertain times. Wavemaker, a unit of WPP’s GroupM, represents a diverse set of advertisers with specialized needs for media planning and campaign execution.

The global pandemic has presented various challenges to businesses, including disruptions in supply chains. However, many of these difficulties have diminished, and uncertainties now revolve around economic sentiment, consumer sentiment, and spending patterns. To navigate this uncertainty, it is essential for brands to connect with consumers across all stages of the purchase funnel. Thanks to the rise of ecommerce, media channels have transformed into sales channels, expanding opportunities for brands worldwide.

In this Beet.TV Leadership Series presented by FreeWheel, Joanna O’Connell interviews Sharb Farjami, the North American CEO at Wavemaker. They discuss the state of the TV market, advertiser behavior during upfronts, and the potential for innovation in the advertising consumer experience. The industry is embracing data-driven thinking and leveraging technologies to optimize advertising ROI and improve the consumer experience.

One challenge that remains is the issue of clutter in the advertising landscape. Frequency and clutter are major concerns, and a “less is more” approach is necessary to mitigate these issues. However, traditional client thinking often clashes with this approach. To address this, it is crucial to connect both brand and performance elements in the planning process. This holistic approach allows for clearer measurement and consistency throughout the entire purchase funnel, instilling confidence in advertisers.

Pitch season is currently in full swing. The competitive environment requires agencies to demonstrate innovation and adaptability to meet the ambitions and opportunities of brands. As the advertising landscape continues to evolve, it is essential to navigate the pitch environment with an open mindset and embrace the potential for change.

To watch more videos from the Beet.TV Leadership Series and learn about FreeWheel’s activations at Cannes Lions 2023, please visit the [Beet.TV website]( and [FreeWheel Cannes](

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This year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity includes a second round of refreshed criteria for the Media Lions awards to better reflect how significant upheavals in the media marketplace affect the way media buyers operate. This year’s festival comes as advertisers and agencies are adjusting to the effects of economic uncertainty on consumer behavior.

“There is uncertainty, but there’s probably more certainty around that uncertainty maybe than we’ve had the last few years with Covid,” Sharb Farjami, chief executive for North America at Wavemaker, a unit of WPP’s GroupM, said in this interview with consultant Joanna O’Connell. “Perhaps the economic headwinds aren’t quite as bad as we think.”

A slowing economy can be a time for brands to boost market share and keep those gains during the recovery to maximize sales and profitability.

“There’s also an argument to be had for advertising in the face of economic headwinds,” Farjami said. “Because if there is uncertainty, consumers tend to gravitate towards brands that they trust, and a core tenet of trust is consistency. So, maintaining a presence during those times is critical.”

Wavemaker represents a wide variety of advertisers, each of which has specialized needs for media planning, execution of campaigns and optimization. A common theme among these advertisers is their strength after grappling with the massive upheavals of the global pandemic.

“Everyone and everything is more resilient after the last three years,” Farjami said, citing difficulties with supply chains that impeded the ability of many businesses to obtain materials to make products, and to get them into the hands of customers. “A lot of that has dissipated…so, if there are uncertainties, it’s more around economic sentiment, consumer sentiment and spending patterns.”

A key strategy for dealing with marketplace uncertainty is to look for ways to connect with consumers at all stages of the purchase funnel, especially since ecommerce has transformed media channels into sales channels.

“When you’re thinking about planning, traditionally, brand and performance have almost had a  ‘brand versus performance’ perspective,” Farjami said. “It’s ‘brand and performance’ now. The fact that there’s such a high opportunity for every brand in the world, really at the moment around their DTC [direct-to-consumer] and commerce journey, that you have to connect all ends of the funnel.”

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

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