Today [Monday November 13] the Cannes Lions festival announced a major restructure of the event which will come into effect in 2018 and see the 65th edition of the festival drop from eight to five days alongside a host of other changes.

At a press conference held in London and live-streamed on social media, Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential Events and Jose Papa, MD of the Cannes Lions, announced that, as well as the 'streamlined' running time of the Festival of Creativity, which will next year run from Monday June 18 to Friday June 22, the 2018 event would be revamped to exist across nine core tracks [below] which would "better reflect and support the fast-moving creative industries".

"This new awards structure is the product of nearly three years of consultation with different parts of the industry."

Simon Cook, director of excellence, Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions came in for a barrage of critisism after this year's festival, accused of losing its focus and concentrating its efforts on large tech companies at the expense of creative advertising. With the announcement during the 2017 festival that Publicis were withdrawing from all awards shows for 12 months (which includes Cannes Lions 2018) and with WPP's Sir Martin Sorrell also commenting that the festival was becoming too expensive, the Lions organisers have restructured the event to, they hope, better serve the creative advertising industry and make the event more streamlined and focussed. 

Above: The new structure for Cannes 2018 and beyond, including the nine core tracks and the categories within them.

Other notable changes include:

A new entry cap means that each piece of work can only be entered into a maximum of six Lions.

The points allocations for the Special Awards (Holding Company of the Year, Agency of the Year, Network of the Year) have been changed to appropriately reward the very best work.

120 Lions sub-categories have been removed.

Charity and NGO work will now be presented to the jury separately from brand-led work; the first step to separate charity and brand work.

The Cyber Lions, Integrated Lions and the Promo Lions will be retired and in their place come The Brand Experience & Activation, Creative E-commerce and Social & Influencer Lions.

The craft categories within Print, Outdoor and Design will be removed from their respective Lions to be judged by a specialist Industry Craft Jury.

Access and awards streaming

Also announced was the fact that any company which had submitted more than 15 entries to the 2017 festival will receive a free Young Lions Pass, equating to 656 such passes being given away for 2018. 

The festival will also allow anyone from any creative industry to apply to talk at Cannes Lions and more of the seminars held in the Palais will be live-streamed. The awards shows themselves will also be available to view on all major platforms for free. Shortlisted and winning work will continue to be available on the Cannes Lions site during and immediately after the festival with an extended period of Cannes Lion Player access for delegates.

It was further revealed that there will be a reduction of 900 Euros in the cost of a Complete Pass, which  gives delegates access to the entire Festival experience, including Lions Health, Lions Innovation and Lions Entertainment. 


City benefits for delegates

After working closely with the city of Cannes the festival also announced that there will be a fixed price on taxis from Cannes to Nice airport; a freeze on all hotel prices for 2018 when booked through the official accomodation service; fixed price menus of 20 and 30 Euros for Festival Passholders at more than 50 restaurants; free wi-fi along the Croisette for delegates; VIP access and line-skip at the airport for delegates.


Points allocation

The full changes to the points allocation system which will be introduced in 2018 means, say Cannes Lions organisers, that it better rewards creativity and reflects the difficulty of winning a Lion compared with getting on the shortlist. The new two systems can be compared below: 

"We’re very aware of our responsibility as custodian of the Lion, and while the past six decades have always seen evolution, the pace of change in today’s industry has brought us to a ‘reset’ moment," says Cannes Lions director of creative excellence, Simon Cook. "This new awards structure is the product of nearly three years of consultation with different parts of the industry. There was a common desire to create an awards structure that refects and supports the modern creative communications industry, and where the best ideas get a chance to shine."

Responding to the proposed changes, Publicis Groupe said in a statement it was "delighted" to reaffirm its commitment to the Cannes Lions and its transformation and planned to "actively participate" in these efforts and renew its presence for the 2019 edition of the Festival and beyond. “Ascential’s decision to re-center the Cannes Lions’ focus around creativity is commendable, and Publicis Groupe is looking forward to attending the Festival in 2019," said Arthur Sadoun, the Group's chairman and CEO. "We are pleased that our decision to refocus our investments for 12 months in order to create the platform of the future has inspired a larger discussion in the industry, leading to what are clearly some positive changes."


Full information on all of the changes to the 2018 Festival of Creativity can be found on the Cannes Lions website