1does1The advertising industry is meeting right now at the Cote d'Azur for the world's largest creative festival – the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Everybody of distinction in the global advertising industry is clustering around the “Promenade de la Croisette”, awaiting the highlight, which is of course the presentation of the coveted Lions in the ‘Palais des Festivals et des Congrès’ in Cannes. With around 12,000 visitors from more than 95 countries, and an impressing number of 40,133 works handed in this year, it is a great get-together with stiff competition. However, are such creative awards really needed or can we do without them?

There is absolutely no question about it, as the reasons are obvious. Although not always everyone can understand why the jury has nominated one and not the other entry, or vice versa, creative awards serve as:
• Motivator: Creative awards motivate creatives and brand managers to seek something special and unique. They provide incentive reward and recognition, besides encouraging bold decisions in advertising companies. In addition, they are the showcase of the efficiency of the advertising industry and present innovation.

• Standard of evaluation: Creativity is subject to no clear and consistent definition and its rating is characterized by subjectivity and always depending on the social, cultural and political context. Creative awards help to operationalize creativity and objectify their measurement. In fact, creative awards act as a coordinate system, they help anyone who works in advertising, classifying the quality of the own work and ideas in a national and international context and to evaluate it.

• Decision guidance: Awards are a useful tool for decision-making - in finding employees, creative services or a budget allocation. Without creative competitions, advertising would be less versatile, efficient and entertaining. Creative winning advertising increases the general acceptance of advertising for the consumer.

• Communication multiplier: Creative awards promote brand awareness and social communication. Award-winning advertising keeps not only trade and consumer media occupied, but makes even people in the street discuss it.
• Basis for studies: A systematic evaluation of creativity allows analyzing it in terms of efficiency and effectiveness aspects. Studies show that creative campaigns have an eleven times higher efficiency, as creative awards are a snapshot or mirror of society. They document the transformation of creativity in the flow of time.

Besides, there will be some new features at the industry’s 62nd meeting: In addition to the Glass Lion, an award for those that break with gender stereotypes, another new award is introduced with the Creative Data Lion that honors ground-breaking, data-fuelled creativity. “We’re committed to being at the forefront of the industry, which means reflecting trends and at times spearheading them,” said CEO of Cannes Lions, Philip Thomas earlier this year. “The Creative Data Lion is an embodiment of those principles. Insights from data are a powerful driver of creative solutions, so it is imperative that this be recognized and celebrated at the Festival. But we are the first global creative awards to do so, which means we are also championing the role data can play in creativity.”

Of course, the program is impressive again, too. As usual, international media celebrities are coming to Cannes, such as this year the musicians Pharrell Williams and Marilyn Manson. Further, for instance, Publicis CEO Maurice Lévy meets on stage the DJ superstar David Guetta or Internet inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee gives a talk on the next technological revolution. All in all, there is a total of more than 150 sessions, lectures, workshops, master classes and seminars given by 250 international speakers during the seven-day program.

There are some jury members from Asia actively involved in awarding the Lions as well, who I want to mention in particular, such as: Jarek Ziebinski, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Leo Burnett, APAC; Ashima Avasthi, Senior Creative Director, BBC Worldwide; Rupen Desai, Regional President, Lowe + Partners; Anathea Ruys, Head of Fuse APAC; Caroline Spencer, Director of Development, FremantleMedia Australia; Anuwat Nitipanont, Executive Creative Director, BBDO Bangkok; Lucinda Sherborne, Executive Planning Director, DDB New Zealand; Guan Hin Tay, Regional ECD SEA & Lux, Global ECD, J. Walter Thompson, or Guy Roberts, Executive Creative Director, Saatchi & Saatchi New Zealand.

The world's largest creative festival is still going on until Saturday, so keep on checking their Website to stay tuned.

By Daniela La Marca