Cannes Lions structure completely revamped

Several changes aimed at simplifying the event as well as keeping costs down for attendees after facing backlash from advertising holding companies including Publicis and WPP

by exchange4media Staff
Published - Nov 14, 2017 9:35 AM Updated: Nov 14, 2017 9:35 AM
Cannes Lions owner Ascential has unveiled a complete revamp of the festival, introducing several changes aimed at simplifying the event as well as keeping costs down for attendees. This move comes after it came under pressure from advertising holding companies, who have come to see the Cannes festival as “too expensive.” The cost of a delegate pass, which has exceeded €4,000 in recent years, is being cut by €900. Cannes is also freezing 2017 hotel prices for 2018, and offering fixed-price menus (€20 & €30) for festival pass-holders at more than 50 restaurants across the city.
Publicis Groupe, immediately applauded the change and announced it will be returning to Cannes in 2019. Incidentally, Publicis is skipping the 2018 festival and spending that money on developing an internal AI platform.
Some changes Cannes Lions is instituting for in 2018:
• The festival will run for only five days (Monday to Friday, June 18-22) instead of the usual eight days.
• The cost of a Complete delegate pass is being cut by €900.
• The festival will introduce nine content “tracks” that will guide all festival programming as well as the the Lions themselves, which will be grouped under the tracks.
• Three Lions are being retired (Cyber, Integrated and Promo & Activation), while five new Lions are being added.
• More than 120 award subcategories are being removed.
• A single piece of work can be entered in no more than six Lions contests, where before it was unlimited.
• The points system is changing to further prioritize winning a Lion over getting shortlisted.
• Lions Entertainment and Lions Innovation are being integrated into the main festival.
• The festival has worked with the city of Cannes to offer cost-saving benefits including a freeze on hotel prices for 2018 and fixed-price menus (€20 & €30) at more than 50 restaurants across the city.
Simon Cook, director of creative excellence at Cannes Lions, told Adweek that the new festival structure has been a collective effort. He also told Adweek that the changes, while significant this year, are part of the 64-year-old festival’s ongoing efforts to evolve to better reflect the industry it celebrates.
Content Tracks
Starting this year, Cannes Lions is introducing nine “tracks” that will guide all festival content going forward—both the programming and the awards. They are Reach, Comms, Craft, Experience, Innovation, Impact, Good, Entertainment and Health.
Speaking to Adweek, Cook described the tracks as the new “foundational framework for the entire festival.” All programming will be organized into the tracks, as will the Lions themselves—each Lions competition will live with one of the tracks.
Here’s how the Lions will be organised:
Lions evolve
While the Cyber, Integrated and Promo & Activation Lions are being eliminated, five new Lions are being added—the Creative eCommerce Lions; the Social & Influencer Lions; the Industry Craft Lions; the Sustainable Development Goals Lions; and the Brand Experience & Activation Lions.
To better focus all the Lions competitions, some 120 subcategories have been removed. There is also a new entry cap on work—a single piece of work can only be entered in up to six Lions contests. The points system that determines Agency of the Year and other prizes is also being revised to give more weight to winning Lions versus making the shortlist.
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