News Column

Tweets Taunt Yahoo CEO's Speech

June 18, 2014

By Laura Petrecca, @laurapetrecca, USA TODAY

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was criticized for a self-serving speech at an advertising conference.
Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was criticized for a self-serving speech at an advertising conference.

This is an advertising conference, so some spinning and selling is expected. Yet, a Tuesday presentation from Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer was flagged by some attendees as 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."

Bruce Rogers, tweeting under @Brogers825, said "Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer reads from script, says nothing new."

During her scripted talk at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, Mayer highlighted Yahoo's assets such as social-media blogging site Tumblr, which it acquired last year.

She provided the packed audience with examples of advertiser campaigns on Yahoo properties and highlighted the site's digital magazines.

She also talked about art, as well as trends in areas such as mobile, video, social media and native advertising.

Mayer played 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."

The Yahoo chief was one of more than 300 speakers at this festival, which is the advertising industry's biggest awards competition and trade show.

Traditionally, festival speakers are more uninhibited. For example, in the middle of being interviewed on stage Monday, filmmaker Spike Jonze turned to the audience and asked the crowd to ask him questions.

On Sunday, Baywatchstar David Hasselhoff ran through the audience carrying a red buoy just before he took to the stage.

After that presentation, Hasselhoff readily took pictures with attendees who rushed the stage to snap his image.

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Source: Copyright 2014 USA TODAY

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