ABOUT THE FESTIVAL
60 years of Cannes Lions
Inspiring Creativity For 60 Years
In 1954, a group of worldwide cinema screen advertising contractors gathered together in
Inspired by the International Film Festival, which had been staged in Cannes since the late 1940s, a group of worldwide cinema screen advertising contractors (SAWA) felt that the makers of advertising films should receive similar recognition as their colleagues in the feature film industry.
In order to promote the cinema medium, SAWA established the International Advertising Film Festival. The first Festival took place in Venice in September 1954 with 187 film entries from 14 countries competing. The Lion of Piazza San Marcos in Venice was the inspiration for the Lion trophy. The second Festival was held in Monte Carlo and then in Cannes in 1956.
After that, the Festival took place alternately between Venice and Cannes. The films in the competition were split into two categories: TV and Cinema. They were judged according to technical craft. There were, for example, categories for commercials of different lengths, live action and animation.
The TV and cinema ads were split into product or service categories. This structure has been constantly updated to accommodate new products, services and marketing trends.
The split between cinema ads and TV ads was abandoned to become film only – Film Lions.
The city of Cannes in the South of France became the Festival's permanent home.
Up until the first Gulf War in 1990, the worldwide advertising industry was prosperous. This is probably why the Festival maintained its original format of a film-only competition. In response to the advertising crisis at the time of the war, the Festival added value to the event by complementing the showcase of all Film entries with a developing programme of high-profile seminars organised by some of the biggest names in the industry, making Cannes Lions a unique learning experience.
The International Advertising Film Festival became known as the International Advertising Festival. This change came about as the organisers broadened the event to reflect the multi-media approach of advertising campaigns, which incorporated both audio-visual and printed media. The Press & Outdoor Lions competition was therefore added. In the same year, the Young Creative Registration Package was introduced.
The Young Creatives Print Competition was included in the Festival programme. Teams from different countries worldwide were given 24 hours to produce an ad for a charity or non-profit organisation.
Online communications (websites, interactive campaigns and online advertising) were added to the event and the Cyber Lions were born.
The Media Lions were launched, allowing media planners to join the Festival with their own competition celebrating creative use of media. The Young Creatives Cyber Competition was launched.
The Direct Lions competition was added to honour creative direct marketing solutions.
The Roger Hatchuel Lions Academy was introduced, aimed at providing one-week training and education to the best students who already study advertising, marketing, communications and design - an investment by Cannes Lions in the future of the industry.
Emap Communications, the international B2B publisher and events organiser, acquired the Festival in the summer of 2004.
Two new competitions were added: Radio Lions, aiming to raise the profile of radio creativity and Titanium Lions, honouring campaigns which achieve creative excellence across a range of communications and media channels, celebrating communication with risk and innovation. An idea so unique, new and pure that it cannot be labelled in a conventional way.
In the same year two new awards were introduced: Direct Agency of the Year and Interactive Agency of the Year. These new awards honour the top scoring agencies in the Direct and Cyber Lions competitions.
The new Promo Lions competition, awarding creative excellence in the areas of sales promotion, including retail marketing, environmental design and in-store advertising, was added as well as the introduction of a separate Outdoor Lions Jury. Due to the incredible growth and success of Media Lions, Media Agency of the Year was added and the Media Lion trophy made way for Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions.
Further innovations in 2006 included the Young Creatives Film Competition, complementing the existing Print and Cyber competitions, with the ads being filmed on mobile devices. As well as the successful seminar programme, presented by industry keynote speakers covering a wide range of topics, half-day Workshops were added to allow for a more interactive learning experience in smaller groups.
As the Festival continued to evolve to reflect what was happening in the advertising industry, further changes and additions were introduced in 2007: The Content Showcase is a dedicated exhibition area where content creators and providers across all media platforms can display their products and capabilities. A series of content-related Content Showcase Workshops complemented the stands providing further information and education.
Titanium Lions further evolved into Titanium and Integrated Lions, allowing the jury to award Integrated Lions to the best integrated campaigns using three or more different media, as well as awarding the most sought after Titanium Lion honouring breakthrough ideas.
Network of the Year was also created to honour the most awarded network worldwide by assessing their agencies' success across all categories.
To complement the existing Roger Hatchuel Lions Academy, a Student Delegate Registration Package was introduced enabling business colleges and universities to send their marketing, communications and advertising students to take advantage of the many opportunities the Festival has to offer.
The biggest Festival to date counted more than 10,000 delegates from 85 countries and offered a record number of exhibitions, seminars, workshops and newly introduced master classes - an initiative that saw leading industry figures address Young Lions and Student delegates in intimate one-hour sessions at the Young Lions Zone.
A new competition for Design Lions was set up to celebrate the creative use of design to influence consumers and aid the communication of brand and product messages. The brand-new entry section was such a success that Grand Prix, Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions were awarded.
Changes to Film Lions were introduced to include categories for films created for transmission on screens other than TV and cinema, such as the internet or mobile phones. Also, as a result of the success of the Promo Lions competition, Gold, Silver and Bronze trophies were awarded from this year.
Added to the existing Print, Cyber and Film Young Lions competitions was the Young Lions Media Competition to develop an innovative media strategy within a set budget.
The PR Lions category was launched to honour the creative use of reputation management by the building and preservation of trust between individuals, business or organisations and their publics. Gold, Silver and Bronze Lions were awarded in the Integrated category instead of a single Integrated Lion. Also, new digitally focused categories were introduced into the Outdoor, Design, Direct, Media and Promo Lions.
Seminars and workshops saw top international keynote speakers including Biz Stone, Co-Founder of Twitter; Steve Ballmer, CEO of Microsoft; Kofi Annan, former Secretary General of the UN; writer, director, actor and producer Spike Lee; and Eric Schmidt, Chairman and CEO of Google.
The 2010 Festival took place from Sunday 20 to Saturday 26 June. New initiatives for 2010 included the introduction of Film Craft Lions, an award for Independent Agency of the Year, a Grand Prix For Good, the launch of a new training programme in association with the Berlin School called the Cannes Creative Leadership Programme and much more.
In 2011 the Creative Effectiveness Lions launched, aiming to establish a direct correlation between creativity and effectiveness.
In 2012 the Festival launched two new categories, Mobile and Branded Entertainment.