Adland may not be descending upon the south of France this summer to toast to the year’s best content over glasses of rose, but Cannes Lions still wants to bring the global creative community together with its new Lions Live experience in June.

Lions Live, which is free to everyone and will run throughout the month of June, will celebrate creative work worldwide as well as serve as a platform for digital education and networking. The main activity is expected to peak during the original Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity dates, June 22 – 26. 

“Now more than ever, especially since speaking to our community and having had many, many conversations, it’s become clear that creative matters more than ever right now,” said Simon Cook, managing director of Cannes Lions. “It’s during the tough times that people especially need that inspiration, ingenuity and creativity to empower what they’re doing.” 

“Many people are in isolation right now, and this is an opportunity to bring the global community together and be inspired at a time that is really tough on the industry,” Cook told Campaign US.

As part of Lions Live, Cannes is opening up “The Work” archive, which is typically only accessible through a subscription and includes more than 200,000 campaigns and 1,600 festival talks. This will allow participants to see tours of the work throughout decades, go deep into specific verticals, like experience, or even see what work was produced during the last recession, said Cook. 

Lessons from Cannes Lions’ 42 Courses series, which includes masterclasses from the likes of DDB’s Keith Reinhard and VMLY&R’s Debbi Vandeven, will also be open for anyone to access in June. 

In addition to masterclasses and virtual sessions with industry leaders and creatives, Lions Live will include a section called “Future Gazers,” which will feature a group of adland experts assessing how Cannes Lions should approach its 2020 themes due to the impact of coronavirus.

While Lions Live is not meant to replicate the actual festival in any way, Cook said Cannes will still honor a few special awards, such as the Lion of St. Mark Lifetime Achievement Award. 

Cannes Lions expects to start announcing its sessions and speakers for the live experience at the beginning of June.

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