The return of Cannes Lions

Next week marks the first Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity since 2019. Our ad correspondent, Ben Kay, ponders what might be different this time around

In case you hadn’t noticed, Cannes Lions returns this year after a couple of squashed-together virtual festivals. So will it be a ‘new normal’ kind of event, with a subdued eye on a post-Covid world at war? Or will it be a joyous release of pent-up demand, making the Rolling Stones 1972 world tour look like a tea party with the Teletubbies?

I would guess a sprinkling of the former, underpinned by a dollop of the latter, will be the order of the day.

These days all award shows seem to be duty-bound to produce a green or white version of their prizes to celebrate the work that has done something good or helpful for mankind or the planet. Cannes is no different. Back in 2018 it introduced Glass: The Lion for Change and Sustainable Development Goals to “honour creativity and effectiveness for humanity”.

However, this has now become two different awards: Glass: The Lion For Change, and Sustainable Developments Goals Lions. There isn’t much information on the Cannes Lions website about what separates them (they’re both in a category called ‘Good’, sponsored by Meta), but I assume the SDGs one has to relate to one of the UN’s 17 specific SDGs, which encompass everything from ending hunger to bringing about world peace.

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