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As Cannes winds down, some marketers say want ‘less pageantry and more substance’ from the festival



As Cannes winds down, some marketers say want ‘less pageantry and more substance’ from the festival

The annual Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is good for more than a sunburn along the Croisette and exclusive parties. Since its inception, it has been the go-to place for marketers and advertisers to converge and discuss industry issues and make plans for the future — all over a glass of rosé.  

But after two-years of pandemic lockdown, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, pending economic recession and other societal uncertainties (Greenpeace blocked the Croisette with a firetruck right in in front of the Palais yesterday morning to protest the ad industry’s relationship with fossil fuel companies and a previous Cannes Lion winner stormed the stage to give back the prize he won working on campaigns for airlines and car companies), marketers and advertisers at this year’s conference say they expected more answers to big questions, more certainty among their peers.

“I love Cannes,” said Pinterest CMO Andréa Mallard. “But the thing that I’ve noticed is that there’s not that many brands that are coming with a clear point of view, which I was surprised to see.”

It’s worth noting that for the last two years, the industry hasn’t had the opportunity to physically come together in hopes to ink a deal in the near future. This year, much of that has returned along with the wheeling and dealing, pageantry and surface-level conversations. The substance of the festival, however, seems to have marketers wanting something more, calling into question if the hype is still worth it. 

And after the four-day festival in the South of France, marketers say this year, they may walk away with more questions than answers. Especially as no one seems able to agree on what the metaverse is and isn’t, or how to make money out of it; economists are unsure of when, not if, the market will bottom out; and the timeline on cookie depreciation just means more dawdling. Meaning the market is shrouded in uncertainty, yet marketers still need solutions for everything from ad measurement to customer data. To be fair, publishers seem to be in a similar predicament. 

“There’s also a theme of we’re coming back, there’s still some uncertainty. How are you thinking about 2023?” asked Khurrum Malik, head of advertising business marketing at Spotify. “It’s a feeling of humility to see what your partners are thinking about, thinking everybody has all the answers instead of coming in like, I know what’s going to happen next year.”

Malik added that he went into this year’s Cannes with more practicality, intentionally having a lot of discussions with with marketers about measurement as the growth of digital audio continues to boom and access to data becomes increasingly important. 

But what’s been dubbed a timid return, Mallard says may in fact be toothless. “People spent money. People have big things. People have fancy people coming to do fancy things. I don’t mean to be so critical. But I want us to get into the meat of the conversation,” she said. 

It’s not that the conversations aren’t happening. Inside the Palais and along the beaches, this year’s hot topics touched on things like sustainability, Web3, brand purpose and diversity. But these conversations, which tend to be superficial, are happening during a time when marketers have had to rip up their playbooks and start from scratch. The work over the last few years has made the superficiality of conversations just that more obvious and frivolous.

​​For an industry that doesn’t have a lot of humility, this year’s Cannes was a lot more humble after the last two years has taught marketers everything they know – or convinced themselves they know – isn’t true, said Lenny Stern, co-founder of SS+K ad agency and co-chairman of M&C Saatchi U.S. ad agency. “People are like, I’m not sure. I thought to put all the chips here, [now] I’ve got to spread it around,” he said. 

As many talks and initiatives that there are about the metaverse, these last few festival days have reinforced skepticism about the virtual world, marketers say. And that’s in addition to everything from diversifying media spend to keep up with consumers’ quickly changing habits to searching for new ways to leverage data in light of beefed up data privacy initiatives. 

“People are afraid because it’s murky and people don’t know yet. But that’s exactly the moment you should talk out loud,” Pinterest’s Mallard said. “What are the dangers for brands, creators [and] humanity about some of this technology we’re all excited to learn more about. Less pageantry and more substance from the people.”

Still, to some in the industry, it’s worth noting that ten years ago, conversations around things like the future of technology, DE&I and channel diversification weren’t happening. “People are focused on it. Now the question is are we making progress?” said Stern. 

As this year’s event wraps up, Spotify breaks down its stage, attendees pack up for flights home and rain cools down the Croisette, it seems eyes have already started looking toward Cannes 2023, where industry may be hoping to see less talk and more action. 


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5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one



5 reasons you should buy a cheap phone over an expensive one
Moto G22 face down on top of a wall

The Moto G22 on a wall.
(Image credit: Future)

If you’re looking for a new phone, a key consideration is always budget – you want to buy the best phone you can afford. But maybe, even if you’ve got the money for a premium device, you should still opt for a cheap phone.

“Wait,” you’re probably thinking, “are you asking me to spend less than I’m able on my new phone?”  Yes, I am – you’re absolutely right.

You see, despite budget phones being weaker than premium ones in quite a few ways (obviously), there are a few departments in which they actually beat top-end models.

So we’re going to run through some different areas in which cheap phones actually trump their pricier rivals. 

1. It costs less money

Okay, we’ve got to start with the really, really obvious point. A cheap phone is – you guessed it – cheaper than an expensive one.

If you spend less on your phone, you’ve got more to spend on the best power banks, phone cases, charging cables, and so on. Plus, you’ve got extra for non-smartphone things. Y’know: bills, food, transport, and so on.

Smartphones operate on the rule of diminishing returns: a $400 smartphone is not twice as good as a $200 one, and a $1,200 phone isn’t twice as good as a $600 version or four times better in any way than a $300 one.

So if you want the best bang for your buck, a budget mobile will get you there.

Moto G9 Power

The Moto G9 Power has a massive battery. (Image credit: Future)

2. Much better battery life

Phones don’t have great battery life sometimes: when you factor in features like 5G, high refresh rates, top-end processors, and so on, a giant battery can get worn down incredibly quickly.

But you know what cheap phones don’t have? That’s right – any of those features. If a phone is 4G-only, has a low-res screen, and only runs with a middling chipset, it uses the battery at a much slower rate. All of the longest-lasting smartphones are budget ones.

That’s doubly the case when you consider that cheap phone makers like to use huge batteries in their phones – plenty have 5,000mAh power packs. Motorola has even used 6,000mAh ones in some phones, and certain Chinese rugged phone brands have gone even higher.

If you want a long-lasting phone, you’ve got to opt for a cheap handset with fewer features. It also makes such devices reliable for more extended periods.

3. Hardier designs

Glass has become one of the most commonly-used materials for smartphones – it adds to a premium-feeling build and looks good from all angles. 

But you know what glass isn’t? Durable. It can easily smash from an impact like a drop. It’s also slippery, making glass phones harder to hold. Because of this, mid-range and premium phones are more susceptible to damage, even if brands slap silly marketing terms on them like ‘Gorilla Glass Victus’ or ‘Ceramic Shield’.

Cheap phone makers generally stay away from glass. This is mainly because of cost, but it’s beneficial for affordable phone fans because plastic is hardier.

A plastic phone is much more likely to survive a drop or hard knock, letting you avoid the experience of having to get your device repaired as often (or ever, hopefully).

Realme 9 Pro Plus

The Realme 9 Pro Plus has a cool-looking, yet plastic, rear. (Image credit: Future)

4. Cooler chipsets

Cheap phones often have cooler chipsets. No, we don’t mean ‘sunglasses and Tommy Bahama shirt cool’ – we mean temperature-wise.

Premium phones get top-end chipsets, which provide loads of processing power for tasks like games. An annoying side-effect of loads of power, though, is that these chips can get incredibly hot if you use them for long periods.

Counter-intuitively, this means that mid-range chips can be better for gaming if you like playing for extended amounts of time, and don’t need the most top-end graphics available to you.

As you can imagine, budget phones often have weaker internals, so they generally don’t have overheating issues, and are fine for gaming. Plus, in this day and age, you rarely find phones that are slow, even in the lower-cost market.

5. A bigger range of fingerprint scanners

There’s a trend in the premium phone market towards in-screen fingerprint scanners, where the sensor for unlocking your phone is embedded under the display.

This is a fine way of unlocking your device for some, but if you prefer a back- or side-mounted scanner, you’re mostly out of luck at the top end of the market.

That’s not the case for cheap phones, though: you’ll find those digit sensors all over the place in the lower end of the market. Some phones have them in-screen, others have them on one or both sides of the phone, while plenty have the scanner on the back.

So if you like tapping the rear of your phone to unlock it, or caressing the side of the device, instead of just tapping the screen, budget devices are, in fact, the best phones for you.

Tom Bedford

Tom’s role in the TechRadar team is to specialize in phones and tablets, but he also takes on other tech like electric scooters, smartwatches, fitness, mobile gaming and more. He is based in London, UK.

He graduated in American Literature and Creative Writing from the University of East Anglia. Prior to working in TechRadar freelanced in tech, gaming and entertainment, and also spent many years working as a mixologist. Outside of TechRadar he works in film as a screenwriter, director and producer.

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We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design



We’re in love with this leaked Xbox Elite Series 2 controller design
An Xbox Elite Controller Series 2 in white

(Image credit: Nicholas Lugo)

The Xbox Elite Series 2 wireless controller looks like it’s getting a brand new color variant with a White Edition.

The Xbox Elite Wireless Controller Series 2 has so far only been available in its default black color scheme. But a short clip shared on Twitter (opens in new tab) by leaker Rebs Gaming shows off a new white edition in the flesh.

The clip starts by showing the premium Xbox Series X|S controller’s box. Next, we’re given a look at the controller itself, which wears a clean white-on-black coat.

All the usual Elite Controller bells and whistles are accounted for. That includes the carry case, swappable analog sticks and customizable back paddle buttons. It looks like the genuine article, though we’ve heard nothing from Microsoft to confirm if or when the pad will actually be released.

A sign of pads to come?

Leak: I think this is our first footage of the Xbox Elite Series 2 White Edition controller. A leaked image of the controller was shown by @IdleSloth84 back in March. Source: https://t.co/WfMCEk3FQv#Xbox #XboxOne #XboxSeriesX pic.twitter.com/t97qbaNPCuAugust 8, 2022

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Okay, sure, the White Edition isn’t exactly the most daring design Microsoft could’ve chosen for its Elite pad. But it’s nonetheless eye-catching. I think that keeping certain parts of the controller black – like the sticks and grips – is a smart aesthetic choice. They contrast really nicely with the white center.

The Elite Series 2 is an excellent controller. But it’s lacking the one thing that the regular Xbox Wireless Controller has in abundance: color options. We’ve seen countless bold designs for the standard Xbox controller, including an eye-popping special edition for Forza Horizon 5 and a stunning hot pink design. But the Elite hasn’t really had the same treatment yet.

I hope that this new White Edition not only comes to market, but that it’s also a gateway for more ambitious designs for Xbox’s top pad. Seriously, a purple Elite pad would be an instant buy for me, and probably for many others, too.

Rhys Wood

Rhys is Hardware Writer for TechRadar Gaming, and while relatively fresh to the role, he’s been writing in a professional capacity for years. A Media, Writing and Production graduate, Rhys has prior experience creating written content for app developers, IT firms, toy sellers and the main TechRadar site. His true passions, though, lie in video games, TV, audio and home entertainment. When Rhys isn’t on the clock, you’ll usually find him logged into Final Fantasy 14, Halo Infinite or Sea of Thieves.

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Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back



Street Fighter 6 is bringing the ‘80s (and feet) back

Here come some new challengers. At the end of EVO 2022’s Street Fighter V tournament, Capcom revealed two more characters coming to the roster of Street Fighter 6: Juri, the “I can fix her” returning fighter, and newcomer Kimberly, an ‘80s-obsessed teen.

Kimberly, the spunky new ninja, and Juri, the sadistic thrill-seeker, join #StreetFighter6 when it arrives in 2023! Spray cans, a portable cassette player, and motorcyles have never looked more fresh. ️ pic.twitter.com/Lnw87p27aP

— Street Fighter (@StreetFighter) August 8, 2022

Student of Guy and successor to the bushinryu tradition, Kimberly is spunky and colorful with an affinity for spray painting her enemies midmatch. Though Kimberly is a teenager and Street Fighter 6 seems to be set in the current day, she’s enamored with all things ‘80s, carrying around a cassette player that some younger players probably won’t even recognize.

It’s like Capcom is aware that, in addition to its younger audience, there’s a certain subset of older Street Fighter players rising from their creaking knees and aching back looking at the ‘80s with fondness. In that way, Kimberly is a send-up, a reminder of simpler times. In other ways, she’s a very rude reminder that those happy days are so far behind us now that current teenagers are adopting the aesthetic because it’s quaintly “retro.” Thanks, Capcom, for reminding me I’m old.

Accompanying Kimberly in the character reveal is Juri, a character first introduced in Street Fighter IV. Juri arrives in flashy style with an homage to the Akira slide that’s been having a moment lately, as it was also used to awesome effect in Jordan Peele’s Nope. Juri seems a bit edgier than Kimberly, stomping all over her enemies in bare feet emphasized in ways that would make Bob Odenkirk click “like.” It’s always neat when companies seemingly embrace the thirst players have for its characters.

We’ll get the chance to see more of Juri and Kimberly’s stories when Street Fighter 6 launches on Xbox, PC, and PlayStation in 2023.

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