In addition to the marketing community being so well represented at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year, up 20 percent from last year, there were a number of "firsts" and other impressive stats to once again bring Cannes to the fore of marketing conversations. For starters, it was the first time for the Festival was called the International Festival of Creativity in its 58-year history. Previously, it was the International Festival of Advertising.
Clearly the new name and economic upswing attracted the audience. Overall attendance was up to more than 9,000 delegates including many hopefuls from the 90 countries represented by the 29,000 competition entries, an entry level up 19 percent on 2010.
There were two new categories as well. The festival launched the Creative Effectiveness Lions to reward creativity that showed a measurable and proven impact on a client’s business – creativity that affected consumer behavior, brand equity, sales and, where identifiable, profit. The first Grand Prix winner was Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO London’s Sandwich campaign for PepsiCo’s Walkers Crisps. It was the epitome of what my book, "The Changing MO of the CMO", is all about!
And the Festival also introduced the Holding Company Of The Year award honoring the holding company obtaining the highest scores for success across the Lions. WPP won.
Country firsts were Grand Prix winners from China, Korea and Romania – very exciting for those teams, and indeed entire country delegations.
Festival organizers also launched a Cannes Creative Academy For Young Marketers, a week-long program aiming to nurture the next generation of marketing industry leaders. Jim Stengel, former global marketing officer for P&G – and now president and CEO of think-tank and consultancy The Jim Stengel Company, was appointed the academy’s dean.
I’m already looking forward to the next Festival which will be two weeks earlier next year – June 3-9, 2012.