What’s Next For Cannes Lions?

Each June, 11,000 attendees from 90 countries gather in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, France to network, attend seminars, and discuss changes in marketing and advertising. A select few attend with the hopes of winning the most prestigious award in communications and advertising: a gold Cannes Lion. The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is an annual event and awards show surrounding the promotion and evolution of creativity in communications. Last year, to promote the 2016 Cannes Lions, the festival launched “Thank You Creativity,” an online platform of seminars, winning work, and creative kindling. As explained on the site, “not everyone can come to the Festival, and only a few will win a Lion, but the inspirational moments that happen in Cannes can and should be shared.”

The site features a blog called “Daily Creativity” where various professionals from advertising, marketing, communications, film, and other creative industries are invited to share their creativity hacks. Each entry depicts a catchy title summing up the activity, the name of the individual who shared it, and the company they work for or represent. Usually the individual and the company are from well-known, well-respected firms and agencies, which contributes to the credibility and prestige of the blog. In addition, highlighting and endorsing the names of industry professionals and the top agencies they represent helps build strong relationships for the festival. When you click on the link, you’re taken to a page with a short and sweet creative exercise shared straight from the back war rooms of revered agencies. (War rooms are where creatives and strategists map out campaigns and ideas on the walls). When TBWA\Media Arts Lab shares a strategy, it could have been the one Lee Clow used to develop his “Think Different” campaign for Apple, or the one from Goodby, Silverstein, and Partners might have originally come from Rich Silverstein who used it to think of “Got Milk?”.

The primary target audience for this blog is creatives and strategists in the advertising industry, so this is anyone that might need brainstorming exercises to spark an idea for a campaign for a client. What I *loved* (key word) about this blog is that creativity can be used by anyone. I’m a firm believer that there is no strict divide between a creative department and any other department. They’re not the only ones who get to be creative. When I ask students what position they’re interested in at an ad agency, many say that they want to do something creative, so they suppose they’d work in the creative department as a copywriter or an art director, which was the way things worked 40 years ago. I tell them that no matter what department you work in, you have to be creative. If you work in account management, you’ll never get anywhere unless you’re a creative account manager. If you work in print production, you need creative ways to display the message rather than just some direct mail postcard that goes straight into the recycling. Media is the most important of all of them because you better have creative solutions or you’ll never break through the clutter and catch the attention of your target audience. These exercises are truly universal in which positions and industries they can be useful for. One key factor in this blog is that it doesn’t ask for anything in return. By providing value to their audience, Cannes Lions encourages connection and innovation, which fuels the advertising industry, generating better work to be judged at Cannes, which benefits the event. They also make it very easy to share these tips and tricks within your network, and they have a strong online presence.

So imagine my surprise when I discovered that this site and the wonderful blog it gave birth to no longer exist.

Unfortunately, all traces of the site and the blog are gone except for the one lasting cover photo on the official Twitter page for Cannes Lions, whispering its fading reminder to thank creativity. The question that remains is “why”? I assume the blog was only a promotion for the 2016 Cannes Lions and was deemed unnecessary for the promotion of the 2017 festival.

To the Cannes Lions International Film of Creativity, please bring back “Thank You Creativity” and it’s magical “Daily Creativity” blog. For all of the above reasons, the platform was a blessing to so many and had incredible potential for growth. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is sorry to see it go.