In 1954, a group of cinema screen advertising contractors launched a festival in Venice that looked to celebrate and award film advertising. With 187 entries and 130 delegates, it marked the start of a special journey.
Fast-forward almost 65 years and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is the preeminent global platform that celebrates the very best in creative comms that always reflects a much changed and evolved industry.
When something evolves and grows organically, you need to pause and press the reset button, and that’s exactly what we did with Cannes Lions ahead of the 2018 festival. Our relevance is dependent on our capacity to listen to the industry, and we believe in the power of creativity too much not to always share our challenges and opportunities.
It’s fair to say the media landscape is changing — now more than ever — so we had to change, too. Principally, we want to make sure the Lions continue to be what they have always been: the benchmark for creativity. We have changed the structure and breadth of the awards more significantly than ever to embrace all types of modern creativity, from traditional advertising to creative experiences and innovative product design to the use of creative data.
Rather than have all the Lions sitting under a single banner of Cannes Lions, the categories have specific groupings: reach, communication, craft, experience, innovation, impact, good, entertainment, and health.
If you take the PR Lions as an example, we’ve brought this under reach — the track that focuses on insight, strategy, and planning, enabling brands to effectively engage consumers at scale and be heard amid the ongoing battle for attention. It’s about tightening the focus and realigning the Lions with the industry.
What’s more, the festival’s content has been fixed around the same tracks as these revamped Lions, so it becomes easier to find the things you’re looking for. The structure creates a common language of creativity that connects the work and awards to the discussions, talks, and workshops that make up our amazing speaker program.
Because people’s time is more precious than ever, and the festival was perhaps becoming hard to navigate, we’ve also made the event more streamlined by reducing the number of days, running Monday to Friday.
What Cannes Lions offers is so valuable that we want young people and those who can’t make it to Cannes to experience what the festival is. So we’re making the work, awards shows, and seminars more accessible, both in Cannes and digitally across the world.
We are campaigners for creativity. It’s at the heart of everything we do, and by evolving the festival we can stay true to this.