It was announced Monday evening that Cannes will be truncated to five days in 2018, with its award structure simplified and reductions made to both the costs of a festival pass and to living expenses around the venue. The PR Lions will still exist, but some categories are being scrapped.
It follows unprecedented criticism of the French festival and scrutiny of the level of investment made by the marketing industry in it, including Publicis Groupe’s decision to pull out of all conferences and awards in 2018.
Publicis last night said the changes were “commendable” – but said it was sticking to its plan not to enter Cannes again until 2019.
— Publicis Groupe (@PublicisGroupe) November 13, 2017
A spokesman for Porter Novelli London told PRWeek: “Any simplification of the awards structure will be welcomed by agencies, but people will be watching closely to make sure that the re-packaging of the PR Lions doesn’t lead to a reduction of PR professional voices on the jury panel.”
Dick Dunford, creative partner at Creston’s creative engagement agency Loooped, who was on the Pharma Lions jury this year, said: “Last year there was so much discussion and debate over the entry process, the categories and the qualification for inclusion. In the Pharma jury we were constantly returning to the extensive entry criteria for guidance and clarity. Obviously the festival listened and has responded. This can only be good news.”
However, he went on to say: “Simplification should be easy but it is always hard to achieve. Hopefully the result makes it easier to celebrate the very best creativity in health.”
An investors’ note from Lions organiser Ascential said this morning: “The response from Cannes Lions stakeholders to this refreshed format has been encouraging.”
Women in PR president Mary Whenman said on Twitter that the changes were a good step.
— Mary Whenman (@marywhenman) November 14, 2017
The outgoing CEO of Havas UK also signalled cautious support on Twitter.
— Paul Frampton Calero (@Paul_Framp) November 14, 2017
This story first appeared in PRWeek.