Are the Cannes Lions relevant today?

To the residents and hoteliers of Cannes, it’s probably just another festival – another money-spinner that keeps the coffers and bars of the Croisette full.

To the ad industry, it’s an opportunity to gather with colleagues and friends, look at some great work and celebrate advertising’s contribution. But to cash-strapped observers, the view of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity would probably be very different.

It’s something that attendees wrestle with every year – at its worst, it’s expensive, ostentatious and vulgar but, at its best, it’s a celebration of great craft.

While everyone likes a gong – and none are as prestigious as the Lions – what does Cannes mean? David Lubars, the chairman and chief creative officer at BBDO, says: "The IPA and Gunn recently partnered in an attempt to quantify the link between creativity and effectiveness.

They found that creatively awarded campaigns are 11 times more effective than campaigns that are not awarded. The reason being that creatively awarded campaigns connect more emotionally with people and generate more fame. So, yeah, Cannes matters."

Global creative head

Simon Dicketts, worldwide creative director, M&C Saatchi

"I used to wish the festival was still held in Venice. More sophisticated, more cultured, more intellectual. But, actually, no. Cannes is perfect. On the face of it brash, showy, superficial. But scratch beneath the Piz Buin and linen veneer and the city reveals integrity, creativity and passion. The humour of the characters in the Forville food market. The obsession with detail at Hôtel du Cap. The inspiration of the Fondation Maeght. Like advertising, Cannes has the ability to surprise, delight and confound the stereotype. The reason I love being in Cannes is the reason I love being in advertising."

Global creative head

John O’Keeffe, worldwide creative director, WPP

"For soccer fans, the European Championship is always gripping. Athletics aficionados are glued to the Commonwealth Games. Baseball’s World Series I’m sure keeps people enthralled. But we know that, as far as athletics is concerned, the Olympics is the one that really counts. In soccer, it’s the World Cup. The reason is simple. The World Cup and the Olympics are global. Every country enters. Thus they are the definitive statements. In our industry, the same can only really be said of one awards show. Welcome to Cannes 2013. Good luck, bonne chance, viel Glück, buena suerte, hao yùn etc etc."

Global creative head

Jose Miguel Sokoloff, president, Lowe Global Creative Council; co-chairman and chief operating officer, Lowe SSP3

"Every year, there is more work entered, more delegates, more interesting conferences, more worthwhile activities. Cannes has shifted from being a festival about advertising to a festival about creativity. And that is why it matters. Because most of the best ideas in the world come to Cannes. As far as the awards go, I think they matter too. I think there is a lot of pride attached to winning and, also, some major clients are taking note and want to win. So winning is good for business. But awards matter above all because, with very few exceptions, the best work in the world wins."

Global creative head

Amir Kassaei, chief creative officer, DDB Worldwide

"I’m thrilled to see that Cannes, as an organisation, is putting a lot of effort and energy into supporting and educating young talent from around the world during the festival. We are a people’s business and talent is the most important asset we have. In terms of the awards, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is a great opportunity to celebrate creativity and innovation. Our main job is to solve business and marketing problems for our clients in an intelligent and original way and, if our work receives recognition by our industry at Cannes, then that is the icing on the cake."