1954: Inspired by the International Film Festival, a group of worldwide cinema screen contractors (SAWA) establishes the International Advertising Film Festival. It takes place in Venice, in September 1954, with 184 entries across TV and cinema from 14 countries. The lions of Piazza San Marco in Venice inspire the first trophy.
1955: The second festival is held in Monte Carlo, then it moves to Cannes in 1956. Until 1984, the festival takes place alternately between Venice and Cannes.
1983: The split between cinema and TV ads is abandoned to become film-only.
1984: Cannes becomes the festival's permanent home.
1987: Frenchman Roger Hatchuel, a former member of SAWA, takes over the festival management. While many in adland baulk at the staggering amount of cash that has gone to the festival's guiding spirit down the years, his legacy is a fantastic annual celebration of communications creativity.
1992: Finally, other media get a look-in. The International Film Festival becomes the International Advertising Festival and embraces print media.
1998: The Cyber Lions - for online work - are added. Cue a host of viral videos created by agencies wishing to bolster their digital campaigns. Shameless.
1999: The launch of the Media Lions.
2001: The Festival attempts to deal with scam entries by demanding agency executives sign forms vouching that the client is, um, real. Its success is limited. The Brazilian agency DPZ Propaganda is stripped of two gold Lions in 2002 after an investigation revealed it had not worked for the client, J&J, for three years.
2002: Roger Hatchuel's son, Romain Hatchuel, steps down as the festival chief executive following a bust-up with his father (said to be over Hatchuel junior's wish to move the festival's HQ from London to Paris). Direct joins the Lions categories.
2003: Brainchild of Dan Wieden, the Titanium Lions reward communications innovation. The inaugural winner is Fallon for its BMW short film, The Hire.
2004: Emap Communications stumps up £52.5 million to buy the festival from its septuagenarian owner and chairman, Hatchuel senior.
2005: Radio Lions join the fray - 1,153 entries await the lucky jurors this year.
2008: Design Lions arrive. A Brit - Rodney Fitch - chairs the inaugural jury. Entries are marginally up in year two at 1,139.
2009: PR Lions bring the total number of categories at the festival to 11. Austerity, given the worldwide recession, is the festival's guiding theme. Entries are down 20 per cent. The big agencies have cancelled their lavish parties and are sending fewer people who will spend less. Quite right too.