Marissa Mayer should have watched Glengary Glen Ross before jetting off to Cannes Lions, the annual festival that lets ad buyers pretend they're Angelina Jolie. Multiple reports say her stilted presentation failed to close the deal.
Mayer attempted to use some obscure artworks to illustrate the company's approach to advertising — but ended up creating mostly confusion during a presentation to Madison Avenue on Tuesday. One art installation was a giant piece of twisted glass set among a series of aloe plants. It wasn't clear if it was supposed to be an analogy for "native advertising," a newfangled term for advertiser-sponsored content, or something else.
Meanwhile, USA Today says Mayer committed the cardinal sin at the "International Festival of Creativity": she acted like it was all about advertising. Mais non, Marissa! One does not fly to France for "an excessively hard sell":
Audience members took to Twitter to criticize Mayer's speech as being stilted and overly promotional for Yahoo.
"Yahoo CEO at Cannes - am I at a sales pitch??" said Jim Donaldson, tweeting under @jdonaldson1.
Uwe Gutschow, tweeting under @uweg, said Mayer was "doing a hard sell on Yahoo," and she should "know your audience."
And Bruce Rogers, tweeting under @Brogers825, said "Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reads from script, says nothing new."
Mayer did play up to the egos of the ad industry audience by noting that commercials are often more interesting than programming, saying that ads can be "30-second stories."
There you go, smooth as aloe.
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[Image via Getty]