Entries up for effectiveness and entertainment awards

Clockwise from left; Jeff Goldblum, Gayle King, Kerry Washington, John Legend, Marlou van Rhijn, Shonda Rhimes, Adelaide Damoah, David Coulthard, Alfonso Cuaron, Lorne Michaels, Dwayne Wade, Blaire Imani, Laura Dern, Lauren ‘Lolo’ Spencer, Jonathan Lynn, Tina Brown and Wyclef Jean

Clockwise from left; Jeff Goldblum, Gayle King, Kerry Washington, John Legend, Marlou van Rhijn, Shonda Rhimes, Adelaide Damoah, David Coulthard, Alfonso Cuaron, Lorne Michaels, Dwayne Wade, Blaire Imani, Laura Dern, Lauren ‘Lolo’ Spencer, Jonathan Lynn, Tina Brown and Wyclef Jean


The 2019 edition of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has received an impressive 30,953 entries to its awards programme. Although down slightly on 2018 (4%), the headline figure confirms the event’s status as the gold standard for the global brand communications sector. All told, entries into Cannes Lions’ 27 award categories hailed from no fewer than 89 countries.

To ensure that marketers and agencies are able to benchmark all aspects of the industry landscape, two new Lions have been launched in 2019. The Creative Strategy Lions, which recognises strategists and planners within their own specialism for the first time, received 848 entries. The Entertainment Lions for Sport also reported a strong start in the category’s inaugural year, receiving 702 entries. The Entertainment Track — which also includes the Entertainment Lions and Entertainment Lions for Music — saw 11% growth year-on-year.

The Creative Effectiveness Lions, the only global benchmark of the measurable impact of creativity, continues to see entries increase — up 34% in 2019 — highlighting the creative bravery of today’s brands and creative teams. The Festival also reported a year-on-year increase in engagement from two key markets: entry numbers from China increased 5%, and India 8%. Echoing last year’s trend, awards entries from brands have also increased year-on-year.

Cannes Lions chairman Philip Thomas said: “The changes we made to the awards structure in 2018 resulted in a refocus of the Lions. The industry is concentrating on the absolute quality of their entries, allowing everyone in the marketing and advertising community, and particularly brands, to benchmark their output against the world’s very best. In 2019 we’re excited to see the entries into the Lion Awards reflect the highest quality of creative work.”

Cannes Lions continues to evolve its awards architecture to accurately respond to evolutions in creative and effective excellence. Analysis shows that traditional categories remain fundamental to game-changing creativity. The Film Lions, now in its 66th year recognising brilliant brand storytelling intended for the screen, reports a 29% entry increase year-on-year. A strong rise in entry numbers in the Creative eCommerce Lions (up 12%), Brand Experience & Activation Lions (up 8%) and Digital Craft Lions (up 9%) reflects the continuing significance of creativity across end-to-end customer experience and digital outputs for brands.

Simon Cook, managing director, Cannes Lions, said: “The definition of creativity is evolving alongside the industry. The reframing of the awards in 2018 resulted in distinct, discipline-specific pieces of work winning Lions in their respective tracks. We saw the highest standard of creative work emerging across the full spectrum of creative disciplines from a diverse mix of approaches, people, and perspectives. As the industry continues to shift, we look forward to seeing how these emerging creative disciplines and specialisms create impact for clients.”

Cannes Lions is expecting to welcome a more diverse international community to the 2019 Festival than ever before. Delegates from over 100 countries will come together, while over 100 global brands will speak on the Festival stages, the highest on record. In terms of the thought-leaders and talent on show, speakers include movie director Alfonso Cuarón, music icon John Legend and Harvard professor Steven Pinker. Showrunner Shonda Rhimes, writer/editor Tina Brown, designer Thomas Heatherwick, actor/influencer Lauren ‘Lolo’ Spencer, writer/advocate Blair Imani, actor/advocate Omotole Jalede-Ekeinde, paralympian Marlou van Rhijn, actor Laura Dern, actor Jeff Goldblum, actor Kerry Washington, actor/director Natasha Lyonne, NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade, racing driver David Coulthard, TV host Gayle King, artist Adelaide Damoah, musician Camila Cabello, influencer Caspar Lee, music legend Jean-Michel Jarre, musician Wyclef Jean, writer/director Jonathan Lynn and presenter Edith Bowman will also participate in sessions and panels across the Cannes Lions tracks.

Panels during the week include An Insider’s Guide To China, hosted by Tencent; Dreamers With Purpose (Samsung); Future Is Female (Hulu); It’s The Real Thing (Coca-Cola); Designing For Dialogue (IBM); Survivor’s Guide To The Adpocalypse (Burger King), Sheryl Sandberg In Conversation (Facebook); Re-inventing Digital Marketing With The Smart Camera (Google); Game Of Change (Daimler); Reimagine Creativity Through Love & Humanity (P&G); New Creators Showcase (Saatchi & Saatchi) and The State Of The World And Its Impact On Business (Time).

Other highlights include Apple Inc. being named Cannes Lions Creative Marketer Of The Year. 2019’s recipients of the Lion Of St Mark award for creativity are Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, founders of Goodby Silverstein & Partners, while Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels is the first Entertainment Person Of The Year. Other 2019 Award winners include UN Women’s executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka (LionHeart Award) and Jeffery Katzenberg, Media Person Of The Year. Katzenberg, whose career took him via Disney and DreamWorks on the way to his current role as founder and chairman of Quibi, said: “Over my career I have had the honour of working in many different forms of storytelling, but the journey we are on today with Quibi is the most exciting one yet, as we embark on a new form of storytelling. By bringing together the very best of Hollywood and Silicon Valley, we hope to usher in the era of mobile-first entertainment. On behalf of everyone at Quibi, we're very thankful to Cannes Lions for this honour.”

Finally, 2019 sees the addition of Cannes Lions’ first ever Sustainability Partner, Deloitte Digital. As part of a multi-year initiative to help change the event’s environmental footprint, Cannes Lions has pledged to significantly reduce the amount of single-use plastic at this year’s Festival. The goal is to save 150,000 single-use plastic bottles from ending up in the ocean throughout the week.

This sustainability initiative comes one year after the Festival introduced the Sustainable Development Goals Lions (SDG), which recognises work that harnesses creativity to positively impact the world. Alicia Hatch, principal, Deloitte Consulting LLP, and chief marketing officer, Deloitte Digital said: “This year’s Festival is another step on the journey to becoming a sustainable event. Large-scale events make an impact on the environment, and while we know we can’t solve climate change alone, every initiative helps.”

Harriet Palmer