lions gives Cannes a shake

Campaign Middle East - - FRONT PAGE - By Alex Brownsell

The world’s big­gest ad­ver­tis­ing fes­ti­val has been short­ened and its awards struc­ture sim­pli­fied from 2018.

Cannes Lions-owner As­cen­tial has an­nounced a host of changes to next year’s fes­ti­val, in­clud­ing plans to re­duce the length of the event and to “sim­plify” its awards struc­ture.

The ad in­dus­try’s an­nual jam­boree has been sub­ject to un­prece­dented scru­tiny fol­low­ing Publi­cis Groupe’s de­ci­sion to pull out of all mar­ket­ing con­fer­ences and awards for a 12-month pe­riod, and amid claims it had lost touch with its roots as a cel­e­bra­tion of ad­ver­tis­ing cre­ativ­ity.

WPP chief ex­ec­u­tive Sir Martin Sor­rell has been openly crit­i­cal of Cannes Lions, telling Cam­paign that the event “has lost its fo­cus” and had “be­come too much about mak­ing money”. The hold­ing com­pany has al­ready pulled out of As­cen­tial’s Eurobest awards in Lon­don this Novem­ber, with world­wide cre­ative di­rec­tor John O’Ke­effe de­scrib­ing them as an “ex­pen­sive dis­trac­tion”.

In re­sponse to the crit­i­cism, Cannes Lions set up an ad­vi­sory com­mit­tee to “help shape the fu­ture of the fes­ti­val and en­sure it con­tin­ues to re­spond to the needs of the in­dus­try”, with par­tic­i­pants in­clud­ing Marc Pritchard, chief brand of­fi­cer at Procter & Gam­ble, and Keith Weed, chief mar­ket­ing and com­mu­ni­ca­tions of­fi­cer at Unilever.

It has now re­vealed a series of amend­ments to cre­ate a more “clear” and “ef­fec­tive” fes­ti­val, and to en­sure that cre­ativ­ity and work “re­mains the dom­i­nant fea­ture”. Key changes in­clude: • From 2018, the event will be re­duced to five days, and will run from Mon­day 18 to Fri­day 22 June next year. • A new awards ar­chi­tec­ture will see cat­e­gories as­signed to new “tracks”, in­clud­ing Reach, Com­mu­ni­ca­tions, Craft, Ex­pe­ri­ence, In­no­va­tion, Im­pact and Good. • The num­ber of sub­cat­e­gories has been re­duced by 120.

• Each piece of work can only be en­tered into a max­i­mum of six Lions. • A re­vised points sys­tem aims to re­ward cre­ativ­ity, with larger re­wards for win­ning the Cre­ative Ef­fec­tive­ness and Ti­ta­nium Grands Prix. • Char­ity and NGO work will be sep­a­rated from brand-led com­mu­ni­ca­tion over a t wo- year “tran­si­tional” pe­riod.

A spokesman for Cannes Lions said that awards en­try fees are

in­creas­ing “in line with in­fla­tion”, but that there would be no “ma­te­rial price rise”. Awards are open for en­tries from 18 Jan­uary.

Cannes Lions is also mak­ing a num­ber of changes to its con­tent sched­ule, with con­fer­ence ses­sions aligned with the fes­ti­val’s new awards tracks.

Lions En­ter­tain­ment and Lions In­no­va­tion will be in­te­grated into the main event, while Lions Health will now run for two days, on Mon­day 18 and Tues­day 19 June.

New ar­chi­tec­ture: Cat­e­gories will be as­signed to ‘tracks’

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