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Creativity Matters for Business

Cannes Lions has been celebrating the power of creativity for 64 years. In that time, we've built up a mountain of evidence that creativity can change businesses and drive ROI. It's this that has helped the Festival become the most important week of the year for brands wanting to change their business through creativity.   

"Cannes rewards creativity that makes an impression; not that just delivers impressions. For McDonald’s, we’ve seen ROI 54% higher with creative that wins Lions than creative that doesn’t."
Matt Beispiel, Global Brand Development, McDonald’s Corporation

Where the industry meets

Each year, for one week in June, tens of thousands of people flock to Cannes for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It’s the world’s biggest exploration and celebration of inspiring, innovative communications.

Since its origins as a festival for the creative community, Cannes Lions has evolved into an essential event for the client community. It started with Unilever and Procter & Gamble, and others quickly followed. 

Today, more than 25% of delegates are from client companies, and they’re part of a driven and focussed community of strategists, analysts, entertainers, content creators, publishers, technology providers and financiers who represent the modern global communication industry. This means we can truly say that Cannes Lions brings together the entire industry – in one place, at one time.

8 days of inspiration


15,000+ attendees

Over eight days, creatives and marketers, media companies and technology specialists from around the world unite to learn from each other, and make exciting new connections. With specialist streams for healthcare, innovation and entertainment, it’s now easier than ever to create your perfect Festival experience. 

350+ talks

Cannes Lions welcomes creative legends from across the globe to the stage. From savvy CMOs to Oscar-winning storytellers, these creative mavericks will show you new ways of working, unpick the latest industry trends and provide you with just the creative awakening you need.

4,300+ companies

From start-ups to global corporations, businesses from across the communications universe come to the Festival. It’s the ideal place to meet potential partners and collaborators. 

90+ countries

Cannes Lions is a truly global event. The breadth and scale of the event means it can address universal issues affecting the creative communications industry. 

43,000+ entries

As the ultimate benchmark of creativity, the Lion has become a symbol of creative excellence. Much more than just a trophy, the process of entering work for a Lion is known to help companies better understand the value of creativity. 

Home to the world's biggest brands

Many clients come seeking insight or to connect with peers and network with new collaborators. But increasingly, clients come because they understand creativity is a business-critical power. Independent research has shown, conclusively and compellingly, that great work really works. It increases return on investment, impacts share price performance and is tied to market share growth.

In other words, it drives business success.

Smart data segmentation and provocative headlines helped this digital campaign change perceptions of the Economist in a campaign that delivered £51.7 million in lifetime revenue and marketing ROI 25:1. 
"I’ve worked with Cannes Lions for over two decades and I’m privileged to return this year as the Creative Effectiveness President. Alongside my jury, we’ll honour work that doesn’t just measure the impact of creativity, but also drives cultural change and business results."
Jonathan Mildenhall, Chief Marketing Officer, AirB&B; 2017 Creative Effectiveness Jury President

A Festival with a growing global footprint

Clients are now fully integrated into the Cannes Lions experience – from young professionals at the start of their career in the Young Marketers Academy, to Chief Marketing Officers heading up the Creative Effectiveness Lion jury.

The Lions, particularly those like the Creative Effectiveness Lion are the best way of demonstrating the commercial value of creative marketing to the rest of the C-suite and procurement. Cannes Lions as a Festival prides itself as a platform for sharing knowledge, making connections and inspiring creativity.

Global brands like P&G, Unilever and Nike have been coming to Cannes for many years, but Cannes Lions isn’t just for big international brands. The word about the power of creativity is spreading, and campaigners for creativity can be found in the unlikeliest of places.

Clients who attend Cannes Lions understand the value of creativity, and they’re inspired to infuse their work with what they learn at the Festival, leading to more awards as a result. In turn, we are seeing more ground breaking campaigns which transform the way brands interact with customers and the world, sometimes making it a better place. It’s a benevolent circle in which creativity becomes a force for business, for change and good in the world. 

Creativity matters, and as the home of creativity, there is no better place than Cannes Lions to see it in action. 

"The juries are the best and toughest in the world, so being shortlisted or winning is meaningful and immensely motivating for our people. It builds confidence, which in turn drives boldness and makes a cultural statement about being a winning organisation."
Alexis Nasard, Global Chief Marketing Officer, Heineken

Creativity matters: the theory

In a landmark 2010 whitepaper, The Link Between Creativity and Effectiveness, the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising (IPA) merged data from ten years of its Effectiveness Awards (which rigorously assess marketing ROI) with scores over the same period from The Gunn Report (an annual publication ranking the most creatively-awarded advertising).

This analysis conclusively showed the relationship between ‘greater’ creativity and better results. Select findings included:

  • Overall, creatively-awarded campaigns are 11 times more efficient than non-awarded ones at driving market share growth.
  • With equal investment, creatively-awarded campaigns are more successful across business metrics like sales volume gain, market penetration, customer acquisition and loyalty.
  • The greater the level of creativity (that is, the more major creative awards a campaign wins) the greater the level of effectiveness.
These findings formed the basis for the book, The Case for Creativity where James Hurman delved conducted his own original research into the link between creativity and commercial success. He analysed business results from Cannes Lions’ Creative Marketers of the Year – client companies we recognise for distinguishing themselves by the quality of their campaigns and innovative marketing of their products or services.
This campaign for Volvo Trucks by Forsman & Bodenfors used bold creative ideas and spectacular entertainment content to get people all over the world talking about trucks while staying highly relevant for its core audience. Sales increased 24%.
"In every case, the companies that have been most tenacious in their pursuit of great creativity have been among the ones outperforming the stock market and enjoying historic periods of financial prosperity."
James Hurman

Creativity matters: the numbers

Hurman further found that the share price of 80% of winners was at its highest during the period leading up to their claiming of the award. In other words, when they were doing their most creative work, their value was at an all-time high. He concluded, “In every case, the companies that have been most tenacious in their pursuit of great creativity have been among the ones outperforming the stock market and enjoying historic periods of financial prosperity.”
Unsurprisingly, he found the senior marketers of those companies are among the most vocal advocates for the effectiveness of creativity.


Creative Marketer of the Year 2015



Creative Marketer of the Year 2014


The Coca-Cola Company

Creative Marketer of the Year 2013

With the aim of promoting smartphone adoption, this content-powered campaign used social media to create a national celebrity in the shape of Ghita the shepherd. Smartphone sales outstripped feature phones for the first time ever

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