The Cannes Lions Content Manifesto

More than 600 experts will take to the stage at Cannes Lions 2019. Their aim? To inspire and educate the crowd and together define the agenda for creative marketing communications for the year ahead. To help them, we have a simple manifesto we ask them to read and stick to. This year, we're making our manifesto public for the first time...

"We all know that a good speech can change the world. Cannes Lions is home to some of the world’s biggest stages and welcomes some of the world’s most creatively engaged and receptive human beings. So please, let’s use it wisely. The content presented on-stage at Cannes Lions needs drive home the message that creativity is a force for business, for good and for change. The best presentations that we’ve seen have really moved the crowd. They have led to positive action. We talk all the time about creative bravery, so let’s live and breathe it in June! The content at Cannes Lions 2019 Festival needs to inspire the industry to produce better work, generate better results and make the world a better - and more interesting - place."

Charlotte Williams, VP Content, Cannes Lions



1. All content at Cannes Lions MUST premiere at Cannes Lions

Please don’t rehash anything you’ve talked about at another industry event.

2. Serenade the audience, don’t sell to them

Your speech is about creating a connection, not a transaction. Think twice before even mentioning your company’s service/products and what it does on stage. Only mention it if it adds to the meaning/context of what you’re saying.

3. Be a storyteller

Think of your session as a story: it needs a hard-hitting beginning, a solid middle, an interesting twist and a satisfying ending – don’t leave the audience full of questions - but also don’t leave them with all the answers.

4. Be transparent, relatable, global

Cannes Lions is a global event. Our audience is made up of human beings from 150+ countries. Please remember this and tell your story in a way that translates on a global scale. Please do not speak too quickly.

5. Provoke, challenge, incite

Please don’t play safe – be daring and be provocative. The best speeches at Cannes Lions always challenge assumptions and offer new (and radical) ideas around age-old issues.

6. Make them feel – joy, sadness, anger, excitement

Think of how you want the audience to feel and set out to make them feel it. They will remember it.

7. What’s the value?

Please leave our audience with one to three solid takeaways (even if it’s to find out more about something). Make them clear, spell them out.

8. Involve the audience

If you’re on a panel, don’t have an industry love-in on stage (the audience feel isolated). Use the “Better Questions” format, which allows the audience to pose questions directly to the panel.

9. Ask the difficult questions

See above on industry love-in. Please, if you’re interviewing, ask the interviewee/s the questions that you know everyone’s dying to ask.

10. Don’t just tell, show

People love to see examples of work, creatives are visual people. We have BIG screens where you can show incredible visuals. Think of this when preparing your deck.

11. Be original in your format

Panels often suck (see specific panel section for advice) as they follow the same, dry format. Presentations can be too passive. What can you do to be different?

12. Inject some Cannes Lions magic

Please aim to raise the creative bar. You don’t need a rabbit in a hat (who needs gimmicks?) but remember this is the world’s largest festival of creativity and think of your session within this context.