Cannes Lions U-turns and confirms 2021 festival will be digital-only

Online-only event dubbed Cannes Lions Live.

Cannes Lions: will not be taking place on the French riviera
Cannes Lions: will not be taking place on the French riviera

Cannes Lions has announced that the International Festival of Creativity will be online-only, backtracking on its January announcement that the event would go ahead in person.

Lions put out a statement today saying that the event in Cannes, France "will not take place this year", but will occur virtually between 21 and 25 June. The decision marks almost a year to the day that organisers cancelled last year's event.

Cannes Lions announced in January that the International Festival of Creativity would go ahead in person. Given that the pandemic was still rife and a giant question mark loomed over the notion of foreign travel, there was some scepticism at the decision, with many feeling it was premature.

A subsequent Campaign survey revealingly showed that most UK adlanders felt cautious about attending the show, with half of those surveyed saying they would give the event a miss.

But it later appeared to adopt a slightly more cautious stance when it said the event would be a digital-first hybrid event, with the physical event supplemented with a "significant digital component".

Today, Philip Thomas, chairman at Lions, said: "Over the last year, we've been consulting with our customers and working on our plans, including the development of Cannes Lions Live as part of the new Lions Membership platform.

"We are now able to move fully to this format for 2021 – which will have all the celebration, inspiration and participation of Cannes Lions – to unite the global community virtually during Cannes Lions Live this June."

Cannes Lions Live will feature on-demand content and experiences, as well as celebrating the winners of the Lions. Access to the event will be included as part of a Lions Membership scheme, which launches in May. Annual membership will cost €249, with lower rates available for people under 30.