For those of you that are not soaking up the sun on the French Riviera, the world-famous Cannes Lions: The International Festival of Creativity has made on Sunday evening its first in-person return after the two-year hiatus due to the COVID pandemic.
The deserving recipients within sectors like design, sport, entertainment, and many others across the global advertising industry will be given the coveted Cannes Lions awards from June 20-24.
According to Michael Kassan, the founder and CEO of MediaLink who is also the unofficial mayor, master of ceremonies, and grand poohbah of Cannes Lions, as PageSix noted, the demand for the event is through the roof.
Among the headlining speakers for the five-day festival which started today, among others, are the outspoken ad guru Sir Martin Sorrell, the NBCUniversal boss Jeff Shell, the Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai, the actor and entrepreneur Ryan Reynolds as well as Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos, who will be named the festival’s Entertainment Person of the Year.
Focus on Sustainability
The festival announced on its website that this year, they’re are expanding the Global CMO Growth Council along with the ANA, and are welcoming the professionals from both agencies and brands to join its work that has prioritized the five global, most pressing challenges – Sustainability; Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion; Data and Technology; Brand Creativity and Effectiveness; and Talent – that they’ll address at this year’s festival.
The five Global Growth Councils for Progress are to meet for the first time at Cannes Lions to initiate the joint work on finding solutions and to drive creative progress for business and society at large, which will continue throughout the year.
They’ll come together on the Lumiere stage on June 24 to define the agenda and announce their commitment pledges for the next year.
As Cannes Lions announced in a post on LinkedIn, they’ll provide for 2022 and beyond, an annual forum where the global industry would be able to address the most pressing issues that are challenging both the industry and the world.
Underscoring that sustainability at the moment is top of mind not just for them but the industry as a whole, Cannes Lions pledged their commitment to putting a sustainability agenda in place and delivering their most sustainable festival in history.
Greenpeace Crashed the Event
The opening ceremony on Sunday was apparently even more exciting than the organizers had planned after Gustav Martner, a former winner and jury of the Cannes Lions Festival and a Greenpeace France activist crashed the event, according to a Greenpeace press release.
Taking the stage with an unfolded banner that read “No awards on a dead planet, Ban Fossil Ads!”, Martner, a past Lions winner for his work with the automobile and airlines industries, pointed out that after escaping for too long their responsibilities towards the climate crisis, the advertising agencies must now cut its ties with the fossil fuel industry.
“As a former head of a creative agency, I know the power of advertising and sponsorship in mobilizing people or distracting them from crucial issues. My job was to use my ideas to help polluters sell products that are killing the planet and the people,” he added.
The peaceful protestor called out advertising agencies present at the event working with clients from the fossil fuel industry, accusing them of promoting their polluting products and for willingly participating in spreading disinformation around the climate catastrophe.
His stunt comes in the wake of the attempt of around 40 organizations to push a petition by the European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) which calls for a new law that would ban advertising and sponsorship of fossil fuels in the EU.
Grand Prix Winners So Far
On the first night of the glitzy event that gathers over 15,000 people each year since 1954, several Lions’ winners have been named.
“We’re delighted to announce our first Lion winners who are raising the creative bar, as the global creative community comes together in Cannes to drive progress through creativity and benchmark creative excellence on the global stage,” Lions CEO Simon Cook said.
The Grand Prix winners so far are VMLY&R, which won the Pharma Grand Prix for the Dell Technologies and Intel campaign ‘I Will Always Be Me’, and the Health & Wellness Grand Prix for Maxx Flash’s campaign ‘The Killer Pack’; Havas Middle East’s campaign ‘Liquid Billboard’ made for Adidas won the Outdoor Grand Prix and the Grand Prix for Good went to Area 23 and IPG Health Network for ‘Lil Sugar- Master Of Disguise’ campaign for Hip-Hop Public Health.
Impact BBDO Dubai won the Print & Publishing Grand Prix for ‘The Elections Edition’ campaign for Annahar Newspaper while the Radio & Audio Grand Prix went to Vice &Dentsu for the campaign ‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ with VICE World News.