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Day 15: The years that changed Cannes

The Cannes Lions has undergone some seismic changes in its 62-year history - we look back at some of the iconic years of the festival

Day 15: The years that changed Cannes

2016 will mark the 62nd year that ad agencies, media shops and marketers will gather for the International Festival of Creativity – and there have been quite a few changes over the years. We look back at some of the biggest shifts in the festival's history.

1983 – the launch of Film Lions

TV and cinema ads were merged to create the Film Lions, which celebrate the best of the moving image. It's since been expanded to include the online and out-of-home experiences.

1985 – home in Cannes

Having launched in Venice in 1954, the festival moved to Monte Carlo in 1955 and then to Cannes the following year. It subsequently alternated between Venice and Cannes for 28 years – before settling in the south of France for good.

1991 – more than just awards

The Gulf War had a major impact on the advertising and marketing industries, with many brands pulling their ads in fear of the unrest. This led to the beginning of seminars at the Cannes Lions, which aimed to give delegates business advice in the crisis.

1992 – a name change for a broader focus

The International Advertising Film Festival became known as the International Advertising Festival. The event was originally set up by a group of people working in cinema advertising after they needed more recognition than the Cannes Film Festival gave them.

However by the nineties, the festival organisers realised it had become greater than film. In the same year, the Press and Outdoor Lions were added to the awards categories.

1998 – 2002 – new categories for cyber, media and direct

The Cyber Lion celebrating digitally experienced creativity, Media Lion for the "context of creativity", and Direct Lion debuted in 1998, 1999 and 2002, respectively.

2004 – a new owner in Emap worth £50m

The publishing house that owns Broadcast and FHM magazines acquired the festival for £52.2 million cash from WJB Chiltern Trust Company.

2005 – 2009 – a flurry of new categories

The festival continued to grow as it added radio work to the mix, and the Titanium Lion which celebrates "game-changers" in branded content, both in 2005. The Promo, Design and PR categories launched in 2006, 2008 and 2009, respectively.

2011 – embracing creativity with a name change

The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival became the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. As the event had embraced new categories and moved beyond advertising, the name change showed that it was about much more than just adland.

2013 – record Grand Prix awards for one campaign

"Dumb ways to die" by McCann Australia for Metro Trains picked up five Grand Prix awards, the most ever for a single piece of work. The public service campaign aimed to encourage people to be safer around the trains network – and it took home Grands Prix in the PR, Direct, Radio, Integrated and Film categories.

2015 – The launch of the Glass Lion and Creative Data Lion

With the advertising landscape continuing to change, the festival last year introduced a category for data – and the Glass Lion for work that tackled gender stereotypes, at the suggestion of Sheryl Sandberg, chief operating officer at Facebook.

Photo by bayerberg licensed under CC BY 2.0


We're counting down the days until the Cannes Lions kick off – and we've got something new for you every day until the festival starts. Check back here daily for articles and insights – or just something to stoke your anticipation for the big event.

Countdown to Cannes

Day 6: Four years, four themes

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