There will be no Cannes Lions in 2020, after all.
Organizers confirmed Friday that the annual Cannes advertising market will not go forward this year. The decision comes almost a month after the event, set to run in June, was given provisional dates in October.
However, organizers have now taken the step of shelving the market altogether, with new dates set for June 21-25, 2021.
“As the impact from COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world on consumers and our customers across the marketing, creative and media industries, it has become clear to us our customers’ priorities have shifted to the need to protect people, to serve consumers with essential items and to focus on preserving companies, society and economies,” said organizers.
“Our difficult decision follows in-depth consultations with our partners and customers and reflects the unprecedented societal, health and economic challenges currently facing the world, as well as our desire to remove any uncertainty about the running of the awards and event for our partners and customers.”
Philip Thomas, chairman of Cannes Lions, said: “Cannes Lions at its core has always been about creativity and the Lions. We realise that the creative community has other challenges to face, and simply isn’t in a position to put forward the work that will set the benchmark.
“The marketing and creative industries, in common with so many others, are currently in turmoil, and it’s clear that we can play our small part by removing all speculation about the Festival this year. We have tried to make our decisions as early as possible to give the industry total clarity on the situation, and that is why we are announcing this move today.”
Cannes Lions had previously promised to notify clients by April 15 if the event was postponed. The event annually welcomes an array of major brands, ranging from Apple to Spotify, Coca-Cola and Google, while high profile guests have included producer Shonda Rhimes, director Alfonso Cuaron and actor Jeff Goldblum, who attended the last edition.
The cancellation marks the latest Riviera event to be shelved for 2020. Earlier this week, Reed Midem canceled music market Midem, which was due to take place in Cannes from June 2-5. Meanwhile, MipTV, which would have taken place this week, was also scrapped about a month ago.
The pressure now mounts around the Cannes Film Festival, which was postponed earlier this month from May to the end of June to early July, though exact dates have yet to be confirmed. A press conference was due to be held April 16, but that has also been delayed.
Organizers explained in lengthy FAQ page last week why they chose to postpone the film festival, rather than cancel altogether.
“When the moment comes for us to all get ourselves back on our feet, to welcome festival goers, show films, open the theaters to the entire world, meet the artists, the journalists, the professionals and welcome those for whom seeing the creation, distribution and production coming back to life is important, the Festival must be ready,” Cannes organizers said.
However, they also made clear that the decision to go on — or not — will fall on public authorities.
“Ultimately, it is the public authorities — the ministry of Health, the ministry of the interior, the Alpes-Maritimes regional authority, and the Cannes City Council — who will give the green light, just as they authorized us to announce a possible deferment,” said organizers.