After weeks of trying to salvage the program, organizers have cancelled the 2020 Cannes Lions Festival for Creativity, Adland’s most prestigious awards show.
Last month parent company Ascential postponed the festival until October in a bid to buy time in the hope that the pandemic would ease. But uncertainty about when the health crisis would subside—and when it would be safe again for people to congregate in large numbers—proved to be its undoing.
Earlier this week, evidence emerged that the major holding companies had written the festival off for this year—or were seriously considering it-- not only to keep people safe but also to cut costs where possible amid the economic carnage wrought by the pandemic.
Early this week WPP said it was cutting award shows out of its budget this year as part of a broader cost cutting plan. Subsequent reports indicated Omnicom would not participate and that other holding companies were reevaluating participation in the Festival.
In a statement issued today Cannes Lions indicated that the next edition of the Festival will take place June 21-25, 2021.
“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,” the statement read.
The statement continued, “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.”