Cannes Lions announces revamped 2018 Festival

Cannes Lions has launched the 2018 Festival of Creativity, with important changes to the delegate experience and awards structure.
After the Publics Groupe threatened to boycott the Festival in 2018, these changes were somewhat expected.
Publicis Groupe has now reconfirmed its participation in 2019, and while it is “pleased to see the steps taken to reset the Festival around its core values” will still be giving it a miss next year.
Arthur Sadoun, Chairman and CEO of Publicis Groupe, said, “The decision to re-centre the Cannes Lions’ focus around creativity is commendable, and Publicis Groupe is looking forward to attending the Festival in 2019. We are pleased that our decision to refocus our investments for 12 months in order to create the platform of the future has inspired a larger discussion in the industry, leading to what are clearly some positive changes.”
The price for a complete all-access pass (including the Health, Entertainment and Innovation Lions) has been reduced by 900 Euro. The already subsidised Young Lions programme will be further subsidised. Additionally, 656 free Young Lions passes are up for grabs with one each going to every agency that submitted 15 entries or more at the 2017 Festival.
Jose Papa, Managing Director of Cannes Lions commented, “The response from the city, and from the Mayor David Lisnard’s office has been fantastic. These new delegate benefits make it possible for attendees to budget for the Festival more accurately and effectively, with genuine money-saving measures.”
Here are some highlights of the changes:
– A streamlined 65th edition of the Festival which will run for five days
– More than 650 delegate passes given away free as part of new Young Lions initiative
– New opportunities to celebrate the work throughout the City of Cannes and beyond
– A simplified awards structure will remove 120 sub-categories from the Lions
– Price freezes and money-saving packages give attendees more certainty on expenses while they are in Cannes
The 2018 Festival will run for five days, from Monday 18 – Friday 22 June. A streamlined Festival and a simplified award structure will bring much greater focus to each Lion, truly recognise the best work and delivers it to the biggest audience and ensure that delegates can benefit from the highest quality content programme and make the most of their time in Cannes.
Other changes include cheaper cab fare (capped at 80 Euro from Nice airport to Cannes, a figure that’s been known to comfortably go upwards of 100 Euro in previous years); a freeze on hotel prices for 2018 when booked through official channels; fixed price menus at 20 and 30 Euro for festival pass holders at 50 restaurants across the city and free WiFi along the Croisette, the main boulevard at Cannes.
As a result of the reorganisation:
– The Lions will be organised across nine core tracks to better reflect and support the fast-moving creative industries
– The new tracks will simultaneously provide the foundation for the Festival’s content programme – speakers, panel sessions and workshops – to help attendees navigate the Festival more easily
– The points allocations for the Special Awards (Holding Company of the Year, Agency of the Year, Network of the Year) have been changed to appropriately reward the very best work.
– 120 Lions sub-categories have been removed.
– Charity and NGO work will now be presented to the jury separately from brand-led work; the first step to separate charity and brand work.
– A new entry cap means that each piece of work can only be entered into a maximum of six Lions.
– Lions Innovation and Lions Entertainment return in their established home in Palais 2, with Lions Innovation extended across the entire week with a full programme of content to reflect the importance of technology as an enabler of creativity.
The new award structure is oriented around “tracks”, where similar categories are arranged under a single head. According to a press release from the festival, this will “allow related Lions to be grouped together, and provide an opportunity to reimagine and refocus existing Lions, as well as introduce new Lions at the appropriate time.”
These nine tracks are Reach, Communication, Craft (Print, Outdoor and Design Craft have been collapsed into Industry Craft), Experience, Innovation, Impact, Good and Health & Entertainment. Award shows around these tracks will be held every evening.
See the table below for a detailed breakdown of each of these:

The new initiatives also come as a response to criticism from WPP that Cannes has become too expensive. WPP reduced the number of people it sent to Cannes this year by half, from 1000 to 500. WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell has been saying he felt “ripped off” by the festival. Earlier this year WPP avoided Eurobest, a festival run by the same people behind Cannes Lions.
Commenting on the 2018 Festival, CEO Philip Thomas said, “We have spent a lot of time talking to the relevant people to make sure the Festival is not only as aspirational as possible, but to also ensure the sentiment behind the Festival is fundamentally founded on the work and those behind it. We have held lengthy discussions in order to curate an updated Festival that puts creative content back at the heart of Cannes Lions.
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MARKETING magazine is the Official Malaysia Representative to the Cannes Lions Festival.
A full media kit, complete with information about the new awards structure and festival experience for 2018 can be downloaded here.
The International Festival of Creativity, also known as Cannes Lions, is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications and encompasses Lions Health, Lions Innovation and Lions Entertainment. Founded in 1954, the Festival takes place every June in Cannes, France. As the most prestigious international annual advertising and communications awards, over 40,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival.

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