It’s only a matter of days till the Cannes Lions International Festival begins and we can’t be more excited! The festival is going to be live from 22 to 26 June. So, if you’re a professional or even just interested in advertising and communication, this festival is for you. LIONS Live is going to be huge this year. It’s going to compromise masterclasses from experts, and you don’t want to miss it!!
Last January, the Cannes Lions Egypt Academy (CLEA) was launched. It’s an incredible opportunity for people who are interested in advertising and marketing. This Academy offers courses and workshops to teach the required skills and techniques for the world of advertising. It cares about creative minds and encourages them to bring the best to the field.
Mai Salama, Egypt’s Cannes Lions representative and the Managing Partner of The Worx, said that she is thrilled for this event this year as it’s going to be big. She added that this event is going to introduce the Egyptian market and creative minds to the world.
It’s important to mention that in the last couple of years, we witnessed an incredible change in advertising and there are plenty and variety of creative minds in Egypt.
The event is going to be available for everyone in Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and the Middle East in general, and for free!! Yes, you read that right. It’s a great opportunity for us all to participate.
We had the honor to interview Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions CEO. We asked him some questions about how Cannes Lions is going to Launch this year.
Cannes Lions is going Live this year, can you tell us a little bit about the format, how it will be, is it an online festival or what exactly?
When we took the very difficult decision to cancel the Festival, we knew that we still wanted to support our global community in what are challenging and unprecedented times. So this is how LIONS Live came about. It’s taking place in what would have been the Cannes Lions Festival week, 22-26 June, and it will offer a digital experience with compelling content, creative celebration through the Global Lions Creativity Report of the Decade and the Lion of St. Mark Award, and valuable insights, reports, whitepapers and learning to help impact culture and drive business results. From the brands adapting to fast-shifting consumer behaviors to the agencies adjusting business models and the pioneers innovating future solutions – we want everybody to come together to collaborate, problem-solve, and address the future.
What is most significant about LIONS Live?
The quality of the production is amazing – we’re working in partnership with some of the most creative people on the planet and they’re producing compelling content to a very high standard.
Our content team was very clear when we started putting LIONS Live together that we didn’t want it to be like every other virtual event out there at the moment, so we handed the baton to the industry themselves – the experts – to create the content. These are storytellers from the best creative agencies, production companies, entertainment companies, content creators, and platforms in the world, so the quality is incredibly high.
The other significant thing about LIONS Live is that it’s free. We want it to be accessible to everyone all over the world.
What are the goals of the festival this year?
Cannes Lions has always been about creativity – the power of creativity to drive business and growth, to do good, and now more than ever to drive progress. So the goal of LIONS Live is really to offer that creative reboot and refresh to the industry – to offer a platform for our global community to come together and use creativity to figure out what’s next together.
Who can participate in the event? Are there certain requirements to join the festival?
Absolutely everyone can participate, there are no restrictions on who can register and take part.
How can people register for the event this year?
They can do a very simple sign-up via the website https://lionslive.canneslions.com.
In an interview with David Davis, you mentioned that “You can’t digitize Conversation”. Yet now you are digitizing the festival, can you elaborate on your feelings now versus then?
My feelings are the same now. What I meant by that comment is that you can’t recreate the Festival in a digital format, it’s just not possible. Through LIONS Live we have tried to capture the essence of Cannes Lions by bringing the best content elements – provocative ideas, diverse talent, global insights, and debate, as well as curated networking. But what we can’t do is replicate those very human elements of the Festival – the serendipitous moments and the chance meetings.
What is your advice for creative minds and advertisers?
In WARC’s latest Global Ad Spend report they have predicted that global advertising spend will fall 8.1% this year, equating to a $49.6bn. Interestingly, this is softer than in 2009, when the ad market fell by 12.7% ($60.5bn). What this shows is that yes, we are in uncharted waters – the industry has never faced a global pandemic of this scale before – but coming through a recession, and coming out stronger, is not new territory. We know that creativity is a business driver. We’re seeing more and more brands embracing creativity to drive differentiation and growth, and the evidence is that those who shift investment into creativity will see net higher returns. So my advice is to continue to drive the power of creativity in all its guises and to focus on the long-term – I genuinely believe that doubling down on creativity right now is the key to coming out stronger.
How do you think Cannes Lions has changed the perspective regarding the value and importance of advertising, media, and communication?
What Cannes Lions does is provide a platform of inspiration for the global industry – it showcases powerful, creative marketing from all corners of the world puts world-class speakers on its stages, and brings together the world’s creative community. The foundation for all of this is the power of creativity for brands and business, and so through Cannes Lions, we have been able to articulate and demonstrate the genuine value of creative excellence in marketing.
Many people consider the Cannes Lions Festival as the Oscars of Advertising, why do you think people consider it like that?
Cannes Lions has a long and rich heritage. It was established in 1954 by the Screen Advertising World Association as the International Advertising Film Festival because they realized that there was nothing to award these great ads that were being broadcast in the cinemas. So there is always that association with the film world which exists, it’s part of its history. But mainly I think the association comes from the fact that a Lion is a sought-after award to win. It’s not easy to win one – only 3% of entries will go on to be awarded a Lion, and we have rigorous judging processes and global, esteemed juries in place. So, like the Oscars, the Lions are the award that you really want to win. They’re a career-boosting testament to your creative achievement!
When discussing Egypt, Cannes Lions Egypt Academy was launched last January, what do you think about it? And how do you feel this will affect creativity in the upcoming generations?
Learning is absolutely fundamental to creative progress. So the launch of the Cannes Lions Egypt Academy is such a fantastic step. Through its learning programs, courses, and workshops it’s helping to educate the industry, improve skills, and accelerate careers. Investing in the next generation of talent is key to ensuring that creativity continues to drive progress.
How would you rank the creative scene in Egypt?
Well, let’s not forget that Egypt won a Titanium Grand Prix in 2015 – that’s very impressive and obviously a testament to their creativity! And if you look at Egypt’s performance on a regional level, it’s consistently ranked within the top three countries at our Dubai Lynx Awards.
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