Bringing the creative communications industry together to learn, network, and celebrate.
History of Cannes Lions Festival
The Cannes Lions international festival of creativity started in the late 1940s inspired by the Cannes Film Festival. A group of cinema screen advertising contractors belonging to the Screen Advertising World Association (Sawa) felt that advertising films should get equally recognized, championing creative excellence from different designers and creatives from all around the globe. The first time this grand Prix was held was in 1954 in Venice, Italy. The lion in Piazza San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for the lion award given when winning a distinction.
The event alternated between Venice and Cannes before settling down in France in 1984. Among the various categories creative work is awarded, in recent years, there have been calls within the industry for the international festival of creativity to simplify the entry categories to better reflect the current state of the modern communications world. Various changes have been introduced throughout the years including new categories, revising costs, and reducing the event from seven days to five.
In the 1990s, the Festival also added a program of learning in the form of seminars and workshops. Over the years, this side of the festival has been growing considerably and in 2013 alone it featured around 130 sessions over 7 days.
Every year, Cannes Lions explores the value of creativity in branded communication: from product and service development to creative strategies, execution and impact. Nowadays, Philip Thomas is the chairman and Simon Cook the managing director.
Creativity is forever changing ad morphing into different shapes and shades, it is no longer confined to the art of storytelling. Creating meaningful connections with consumers in this disrupted and disintermediated world, communications are presented with both immense challenges and mind-blowing opportunities. Cannes Lions is where you find tools to get inspired and win in the world of creativity.
The whole idea of this festival is to interrogate new methodologies, approaches, and achievements of all types of creative agencies and companies alike. Anyone with original ideas can enter speaking submissions or award entries, but only the bravest of them all and the ones with the most creative effectiveness will make it on the stage.
Cannes Lions Awards
Cannel Lions jury members are drawn from experts in each field from every corner of the world. They judge productions in:
- Film: This lion celebrates the creativity of the moving image. Entries will need to demonstrate brilliant brand storytelling intended for a screen; filmed content created for TV, cinema, online and out-of-home experiences. Criteria used for judging will predominantly be the idea and the execution.
- Film craft: This lion celebrates onscreen artistry. Entries will need to demonstrate exceptional filmmaking; work in which technical skill and prowess in production/ post-production elevates an idea or dramatically enhances its execution.
- Industry craft: This lion celebrates the creative artistry, talent, and skill required to deliver a beautifully executed solution and bring a creative idea to life. Entries should demonstrate the highest levels of expertise and vision in the application of creative techniques.
- Digital craft: This lion celebrates technological artistry. Entries will need to demonstrate exceptional form and function in a digital context; work with flawless design, masterful execution, and outstanding user experience created for all digital environments.
- Media: This lion is awarded for the most inspiring and innovative implementation of ideas; truly creative work with exceptional strategy, targeting, and media execution. Entries will need to demonstrate an inspiring and innovative implementation of media ideas; work which is enhanced and amplified by a game-changing channel execution.
- Print & publishing: This lion celebrates creativity in circulation. Entries will need to demonstrate ideas that leap off the page; work that exhibits ingenuity and outstanding craftsmanship in published media.
- Outdoor: This lion celebrates creativity experienced out of the home. Entries will need to demonstrate ideas that engage in the field; work which leverages public space to communicate a message and immerse consumers in a brand experience.
- Direct: This lion celebrates targeted and response-driven creativity. Entries will need to demonstrate how insights and or data were used as a part of the strategy to engage specific target audience groups and develop customer relationships, inspiring action and producing measurable results.
- Pharma: This lion celebrates creative communications from pharmaceutical clients and services surrounding this highly-regulated industry. Entries will need to deliver work that brings science and innovation to life, facilitating diagnosis, prescription, disease mitigation, or illness management for practitioners, patients, and targeted consumers.
- Health and wellness: This lion celebrates creativity for personal wellbeing. Entries will need to demonstrate an inspired approach to consumer healthcare; exceptionally engaging work which promotes non-prescription products and services, publically educates to allow self-diagnosis, or facilitates pro-active personal care.
- Design, radio & audio: It celebrates the creativity that is wired for sound; work that communicates a brand message through audio excellence, sonic innovation, or superior aural storytelling across the airwaves and digital streams.
- Brand experience & Activation: This lion celebrates creativity, and comprehensive brand building through the next-level use of experience design, activation, immersive, retail, and 360 customer engagement. Entries should demonstrate how the customer journey, the experience of the brand, and optimization of every touch point led to increased brand affinity and commercial success.
- Creative Commerce Lions: It celebrates the innovative and creative approach to online and offline commerce, payment solutions, and transactional journeys. Entries will need to demonstrate how innovation and optimization at any point of the end-to-customer journey led to increased consumer engagement and commercial success.
- Entertainment: This lion celebrates the creativity that turns content into the culture. Entries will need to demonstrate ideas that are unskippable; work which captivates in order to cut through communicated a brand message or connected with consumers in a new way.
- Entertainment lions for music: It celebrates creative musical collaborations and original music content. Entries will need to demonstrate original production, promotion, or distribution of music for brands; work where a recording artist or platform is creatively leveraged to communicate with consumers.
- PR: The PR lion celebrates the craft of strategic and creative communication. Entries will need to demonstrate how original thinking, transformative insight and a strategy rooted in earned has influenced opinion and driven business, societal, and/or cultural change. Work with storytelling at its core, which established protected, and enhanced the reputation and business of an organization or brand.
- Creative effectiveness: It celebrates the measurable impact of creative work. Entries into this lion, rooted in creativity, have met its chosen business objectives, and how generated positive customer outcomes, and drove sustainable business impact over time.
- Social & influencer: It celebrates creative social thinking and strategic influencer marketing solutions. Entries will need to demonstrate how levels of engagement, social reach, and the creative use of social media, brand ambassadors, and influencers led to commercial success.
- Creative data: This lion celebrates the interplay of ideas and information. Entries will need to demonstrate how innovation and optimization at any point of the end-to-end customer journey led to increased consumer engagement and commercial success.
- Titanium: They celebrate game-changing creativity. Entries will need to break new ground in branded communications, boundary-busting, envy-inspiring work that marks a new direction for the industry and moves it forward.
- Glass: This lion celebrates culture-shifting creativity. Entries will need to demonstrate ideas intended to change the world; work which sets out to positively impact ingrained gender inequality, imbalance, or injustice. It recognizes work that implicitly or explicitly addresses issues of gender inequality or prejudice, through the conscious representation of gender in advertising.
- Sustainable Development Goals: They celebrate creative problem solving, solutions, or other initiatives that harness creativity and seek to positively impact the world. Entries will need to demonstrate how they contributed to or advanced the 2030 agenda for sustainable development across people, the planet, prosperity, peace, and partnerships.
In recent years, the festival launched a new category called the innovation lions, which are supposed to hone the technology and innovation which facilitates creativity. Additionally, global start-ups can apply for the start-up academy to receive festival passes and access mentorship sessions.
Other awards include holding company of the year, network of the year, media agency of the year, agency of the year, Independent agency of the year, media ad of the year, new directors showcase, the advertiser of the year, Palme d’Or to the best production company and last but not least, creative marketer of the year.
Winning at Cannes Lions puts you among the creative elite. It means you’ve created game-changing work, that your work has delivered results, and moved the creative needle. This festival is the ultimate tool for creative benchmarking in your business.
Cannes Lions is increasingly unmissable for the world’s biggest brands, agencies, media companies, and consultancies. The festival is designed to maximize the potential for you to connect and do business, with a program of events and networking spaces. It represents a huge opportunity to win new business as Cannes Lions is the place where you meet the most influential people in the world of creative design.
From new trends to new technologies, to partnerships, to customer experiences, it will help decode the difference between the buzzwords and the business-critical when it comes to investing. It will help you to understand what’s driving growth and performance for them, so you can set your budget for projects that are going forward in terms of creativity.
The communications industry is in flux. You need to be at Cannes Lions to find out how to navigate change and continue to grow. You don’t want to miss it, Cannes Lions is a business-critical investment.
Creative Marketer Of the Year
Among the lineup of award-winning prizes of this festival which serves as the home of creativity, we highlight the creative marketer of the year which was introduced in 1992 with past recipients including companies like Apple, Burger King, Coca-Cola, Google, Heineken, IKEA, Mars, Mcdonalds, Samsung, Unilever, and Microsoft, each of whom have demonstrated that outstanding creativity drives business performance, and have won multiple Lions at the festival as a result.
Award is given annually to an advertiser with a body of creative and lion-winning work over a sustained period.
The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity organizers have announced that Anheuser Busch (AB InBev) has bagged the creative marketer of the year award. Past Cannes Lions awards from 2020/2021 saw AB in Bev with 40 lions, two Grand Prix, two titanium, nine gold, 10 silver, and 17 bronze lions.
Simon Cook, the CEO of Lions, stated: “What we see time and again at Cannes Lions is that when brands unlock their creative capability and the potential they drive real business growth; AB InBev has shown how creativity can be used as a lever to drive incredible success. Its belief in the power of creative culture and capability has resulted in a body of Lion Winning work and it is a shining example of a brand that is leading the way in creative marketing. We are delighted to be recognizing their sustained effort by honoring them as our creative marketer of the year”
Michel Doukeris, CEO of AB InBev stated: “This remarkable recognition reflects our commitment to harnessing the power of our creative teams and partners from around the world. It has been great to see the creativity of our brands translating into a category and business growth. I’m very proud of our colleagues who always dream big and use creativity to create a future of more cheers”.
Pedro Earp, CMO, AB InBev, added, “We´re honored to be named creative marketer of the year. We’ve been on a journey over the last five years to embed creativity into the core of the business and this award is humbling recognition of our progress so far, as well as a testament to the people and the teams who made it happen. And we´re only getting started. we will continue to focus on our consumers and customers and leverage data and innovation to deliver creative business solutions that answer real needs and drive consumer, community, and commercial impact”
As past winners who’ve won the creative marketer of the year award in 2021 we can mention Microsoft. The win came after Microsoft had won Lions across a vast suite of products over the years, including Xbox, Microsoft Cloud, Microsoft Kinect, Windows 7, Windows Vista, OneNote, MSN, and its Halo series.
“The accolade is presented to an advertiser that has amassed a body of creative and Lion-winning work over a sustained period of time and has established a reputation for producing brave creative and innovative marketing solutions,” reads a press release.
Another great winner of this special night has Ogilvy in the spotlight. This brand inspires other agencies, companies, and brands as well as people to leave their mark in this world. They have been creating iconic, culture-changing, value-driving ideas for clients since David Ogilvy, its creator, founded the company in 1948. They have invested in keep on expanding their legacy through their borderless creativity operating, innovating, and creating at the intersection of talent and capabilities. They are experts in advertising, public relations, health, and consulting working fluidly across 131 offices in 93 countries to bring forth world-class creative solutions for clients.
On the opening night of Cannes Lions 2022, Ogilvy brought home 5 gold lions across the outdoor, print & publishing, and health and wellness categories. In addition to the gold wins, Ogilvy earned 5 silver and 12 bronze for a total of 22 lions.
Latin American Winners at Cannes Lions 2022
From Mexico City DDB was awarded 3 gold lions, 1 silver lion, and 3 bronze lions and the Grand Prix for “Data tienda” as well as Ladoble who also conquered 2GPs ( glass and creative data). The project consisted of a full proposal for 35 million women could have the possibility of being included in the banking system in Mexico and ultimately achieve their independence.
Another Latin win goes to Sony Latin America which conquered the entertainment category for the Music Videoclip Grand Prix for “this is not America“ by Puerto Rican singer and composer Residente.
Last but not least, we can mention the Brazilian agency Africa which won a total of 15 lions.
Award Highlights 2022
Key moments of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity:
On Monday, health and wellness, Pharma, Outdoor, Radio & Audio, Print and publishing, and Lion’s health and united nations foundation Grand Prix were delivered.
A massive Grand Prix win went to Adidas Liquid Billboard through Havas middle east, a swimmable billboard promoting the brand’s inclusive swimwear. In pharma, an illustrated book that preserved the voices of people with motor neuron diseases, through dell technologies. Meanwhile, Dentsu Creative India revealed how they hacked the British Museum to show the provenance of its artifacts.
The digitization of landmarks in Ukraine, a pet food brand restoring coral reefs, and a pledge from a retailer help German teenagers who miss out on life during pandemic times. This year’s three Craft Grand Prix winners have shown how brands use inventive craft techniques to take issues into a wider sense of the world.
The design of the Lions Grand Prix, through FCB Lisbon, was in a similar vein. The Portuguese Constitution for penguin books turned a censorious blue pencil into a book celebrating free speech.
The work of Polycom and Unesco “Backup Ukraine“, through Virtue Worldwide, archived Ukrainian monuments as a digital blueprint in the cloud, and took the Digital Craft Lions Grand Prix.
Ukrainian creatives received a standing ovation in an emotive Lumiere session entitled “Creativity under bombs”.It opened with a message from president Volodymyr Zelensky “I believe that the power of human creativity is greater than the power of the nuclear state that is stuck in the past. Your work will make our fight for freedom legendary”
Virtual and augmented realities are transforming experiences that offer exciting potential for brands. The creative strategy Lions Grand Prix winner for Decathlon enabled prisoners to participate in a virtual cycling race thanks to the cycling platform Swift. The creative strategy Lions jury president stated that decathlon sports did the unthinkable, it extended its purpose of making sports accessible to all.
Vice media “ The unfiltered History Tour” through Dentsu, won its second Grand Prix, in the brand experience and activation lion. Instagram Filters and audio allowed visitors of the British Museum to discover the real provenance of the artifacts.
A common theme on this particular day was seeing how creativity can be used to present alternative options to audiences. Food brand Dole took the creative business transformation Lions Grand Prix with Piñatex. This vegan alternative to leather is made from pineapple leaves that would otherwise be discarded. Thighstop via Leo Burnett Chicago for US restaurant chain Wingstop, presented chicken thighs as an alternative to wings. It increased sales by 10% yearly and netted the creative commerce lion Grand Prix. And “One house to save many” presented a durable alternative to existing Australian Houses and took the innovation Lions Grand Prix.
This day in particular offered lessons in inclusion. The project “Data tienda” of Mexican agency DDB was all about facilitating financial inclusion for low-income women. Decathlon took its second Grand Prix for “The breakaway”: the first ecycling for prisoners through BBDO Belgium. This initiative enabled inmates to join virtual cycling races with riders from the outside world. The need for greater inclusivity was talked about on stage too. Equity is acknowledging that there was an exclusion in the past and also in the present tense, the idea is to bring a whole different future.
The Paint and coating company Sherwin William took the inaugural creative B2B Lions Grand Prix with “Speaking in Color“.
This echoed a more human-centric approach to B2B marketing that was championed on stage earlier in the week on Tuesday by Ryan Rolansy, CEO, of Linkedin. He stated “ understanding these issues facing business leaders the way you understand households. Your industry understands how households buy tide and cereal. But you need to learn to understand how IT managers buy software or cyber security systems”
Fresh creative thinking on issues including knife crime and cosmetic animal testing were among the themes among Grand Prix winners of this particular day. The titanium Grand Prix winner, “Long Live The Prince”, reframed knife crime using the deep face of Kyan Prince, a rising football star stabbed aged 15 in 2006. Purposeful ideas will go nowhere if you don’t bring them to the world in a disruptive way. To sell it to teens, a different and fresh approach is needed where the purpose is hidden and dealt with sneakily and smoothly.
“Save Ralph“ an animated film starring an affable bunny voiced by Taika Waititi, gave a glimpse into the horrors of animal testing. The film offered a compelling call to action to viewers to help ban testing.
This year’s sustainability development goals Lions Grand Prix went to Procter and Gamble “the missing chapter“ through Leo Burnett of Mumbai, India. It saw feminine hygiene brand Whisper educating girls about periods to prevent them from dropping out of school. As mentioned earlier, DDB facilitated the financial inclusion of low-income women using a centralized information system. It took its second Grand Prix in glass: in a glass the lion for change.
Most of the winners are not only ideas that make a difference for a brand, but also make a difference for the world.
Agencies are gaining more and more respect from clients for their product development ability and competition from other types of creative work has weakened primarily due to work from home affecting engineering more than any type of creative work.
The products and services developed by the agencies were the center of attention and highlighted how design is a discipline focused on enhancing the well-being and quality of life of all human beings. This is what this festival is all about and why it is so important.