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Jean-Claude Decaux collects special media honour

Remembering a famous Cannes Lions moment from the archives

It's the year 2000. It's the 47th Cannes Lions, and it's the year when Jean-Claude Decaux, Godfather of outdoor advertising, and bus shelters, was named Media Person of the Year. 

created on Friday 20 Jan 2017

Outdoor has always been big at the Festival. Big in every sense: the Outdoor Lion is one of the heftier awards, with seven sections and 58 categories, and in 2016 it was the largest category in terms of entries (5367 pieces of work). Regular visitors to the Festival will be familiar with the large amount of outdoor and street advertising that pops up during the week along the Croisette: in front, all over and sometimes on top of the big hotels. In 2015 a giant digital screen, the largest ever mounted at the venue, was attached to the front of the Palais and relayed action from from the stages and award ceremonies. It's been a regular fixture of the event ever since. 

So outdoor is, and always was, big at Cannes. And back in 2000, Festival organisers honoured Jean-Claude Decaux, the Founder and President of JC Decaux Out of Home Media with the prestigious 'Media Person of the Year' award. Here he is collecting his award on stage from former Festival owner Roger Hatchuel: 

Here's an extract from the official press release at the time: 

“Jean-Claude Decaux named Media Man of the Year at the 47th International Advertising Festival in Cannes. 

This award is given in recognition of the success and innovation shown by Mr Decaux in the creation of his group, which has now become one of the leading outdoor advertising companies in the world. 

After leaving home and creating his own billboard company at the age of 18, Jean-Claude Decaux launched a revolutionary concept in France in 1964 – that of the bus shelter, the first piece of a wide range of street futrniture which has since developed worldwide and is today a major element in 1,300 cities worldwide. 

The innovative idea behind this concept was to provide local authorities with city furniture that would be paid for by a first-class advertising programme. This development in fact represented the launch of a new medium, which also proved that quality advertising can add value to city centres.”

In addition to inventing bus shelters, Decaux also pioneered a new kind of automatic public toilet - designed to replace the pissoirs in Paris. By 2010 nearly 3,000 of the Sansiette public toilets in use around the world, which according to the JC Decaux website was equivalent to "416 million flushes in 21 countries". 

After the photo

You'll be pleased to know that the 'Media Man' name didn't last long, and in 2002 the accolade was renamed the 'Media Person of the Year', although to date no women have received the award.

Jean-Claude Decaux would remain involved with the company he created, becoming an honorary member of the board in 2013. He died in 2016 at the age of 78. 

Visit the Awards section for more information about the Lions and special Cannes Lions Awards, or browse through Outdoor Lion winners and entries in the Cannes Lions Archive

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