Cannes Lions cuts back after criticism but is it still trying to do too much?

Cannes Lions, which will have to do without Publicis Groupe next year and has also come under fire from WPP, is cutting back with the 2018 Festival reduced to five days, cheaper all-event delegate passes (down €900), no Cyber or Promo & Activation contests and all awards grouped under nine so-called “tracks” (below).

The Festival will run from June 18-22.

The changes are partly the result of an advisory committee including Procter & Gamble’s Marc Pritchard and Unilever’s Keith Weed.

Other changes include reducing the number of sub-categories to 120; each piece of work can only be entered for a maximum of six Lions, a revised points system with bigger rewards for the Creative Effectiveness and Titanium Grands Prix while Charity and NGO work will be separated from brand-led communication over a two-year “transitional” period.

There will also be cheaper taxis to Nice to Cannes for delegates and fixed price menus in some of the restaurants.

Publicis boss Arthur Sadoun, who prompted the changes by saying the holding company was pulling out for a year at last year’s Festival, says he’s back in 2019. No word from WPP yet.

Most of this is sensible although weighting the Creative Effectiveness Grand Prix will be controversial. Cannes isn’t the Effies, or shouldn’t be, and these awards tend to go to the agencies who are good at writing such entries.

As to the “tracks,” they’ve got client stamped all over them. Cannes should award outstanding craft; the Reach track (above) with Media, PR and all the rest of it shouldn’t be there at all. It’s supposed to be an “international festival of creativity.”

But that would cut down the entry fees of course.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Of the nine so called “tracks,” only one deals with what we have always considered “Creativity.” The rest are the usual bullshit data, social and general wankyness. But then again, the tickets are a steal at 3,100 Euros, and you’ll be able to get tripe and chips for 20 Euros.

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