lions gives Cannes a shake
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’