Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity

15/06/2014 - 21/06/2014

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is considered the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals, designers, digital innovators and marketers. Every year in June, around 11,000 registered delegates from 90 countries visit the Festival, to celebrate the best of creativity in brand communication, discuss industry issues and network with one another.

Thousands of ads from all over the world are showcased and judged. In 2013, a record 35,765 entries were received. The countries with the biggest number of entries were United States (6,078 entries), Brazil (3,476), and the UK (2,671). Australia leads the Asia-Pacific market with 1,404, followed by India (1,110) and Japan (1,093).

Inspired by the International Film Festival, staged in Cannes since the late 1940s, a group of cinema screen advertising contractors belonging to the Screen Advertising World Association (Sawa) felt the makers of advertising films should be similarly recognised. They established the International Advertising Film Festival, the first of which took place in Venice, Italy, in September 1954, with 187 film entries from 14 countries. The lion of the Piazza San Marco in Venice was the inspiration for the Lion trophy.

The second festival was held in Monte Carlo, and the third in Cannes. After that, the event alternated between Venice and Cannes before settling in the latter in 1984. New categories have been awards in recent years: the Press & Outdoor Lions competition in 1992; the Cyber Lions in 1998; Media Lions in 1999; Direct Lions in 2002; Radio, and Titanium Lions in 2005; Promo & Activation Lions in 2006; Design Lions in 2008; PR Lions in 2009; Film Craft in 2010; Creative Effectiveness in 2011, Branded Content & Entertainment and Mobile Lions in 2012, and Innovation in 2013. However, in recent years there have been calls from within the industry for the Festival to simplify the entry categories to better reflect the current state of the modern communication­s world.

In the 1990s, the Festival also added a programme of learning in the form of seminars and workshops. Over the years, this side of the Festival has grown considerably and, in 2013 featured around 130 sessions over 7 days. These included talks from Christopher Bailey, Jack Black, Jenson Button, Nick Cannon, Shepard Fairey, Arianna Huffington, David Karp and Annie Leibovitz.

In 2004, British publisher and conference organiser EMAP plc (now called Top Right Group) purchased the festival from French businessman Roger Hatchuel – who had started managing it in 1987 – for a reported £52 million.

Philip Thomas is the chief executive officer. Terry Savage is the current chairman of the festival.