Writer: Noor Fathima Warsia - Friday, Jun 24,2011 9:15 AM
Cannes Lions 2011: Festival explores branded content & mobile for 2012

There are just two more days left before curtains fall on the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2011. As Festival CEO Philip Thomas reflected back on the week, he stated that the Festival had exceeded expectations on all counts.

Speaking to exchange4media, Thomas said, “There were more entries and more delegates than we had expected, and the attendance in the seminar programme has been very high this year.”

India was the seventh highest country in sending entries this year, which while is the highest number of entries (1,174) from India, according to Thomas, it did not increase as much as the other countries such as Russia.

The increase in entries can also be attributed to the increase in categories. Elaborating on that, Thomas said, “The reason we add categories is because the industry expects us to be as relevant and future ready as possible. We listen to the industry. For instance, the latest category of Creative Effectiveness was introduced because the industry was telling us to prove the link between creativity and effectiveness.

“Similarly, the conversations now are about whether mobile is ready for its own category. The other conversation is on branded content. But we have to really explore these before we introduce anything because the worst thing we can possibly do is launch a category and not getting entries for it,” he added.

While most of the new categories like PR and Design have grown in entry size, Film Craft surprised Thomas the most. He said, “I did not expect to see those many entries in the category. We are thinking of Print Craft and Radio Craft too but again, that is something we have to still deliberate on.”

Scam advertising was once again a common feature in most corridor conversations at the Festival, but Thomas was clear that there were no scam ads at the Festival. He explained, “It depends what you call scam ads. If you are speaking of an agency and a brand getting together and saying let’s do something small but exciting, I don’t call that a scam, I call that experimenting. And experimenting is important in showing the way for the future. Scam advertising is when people produce things for clients they don’t have or without the client’s consent. The last time we faced that problem was in 2008, when we had to withdraw a Lion but it has not happened since.”

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