Cannes Lions to Intro Design Prizes

NEW YORK After 54 years, the Cannes Lions are finally adding Design.

At the 55th International Advertising Festival next June, Design Lions as well as a Grand Prix will be up for grabs, but there are caveats. Product, Web and architectural designs are all excluded, except when relevant to the categories being considered by the judges.

Those categories are: Packaging Design, Brand Identity and Environmental Design. Rodney Fitch, chairman and CEO of Fitch Worldwide, London, will be the chairman of the jury.

“I had often wondered why Cannes never honored design; for isn’t design the very platform on which so much creative endeavor is based,” said Fitch in a statement. “Now that the world has come to its senses, I’m greatly honored and not a little humbled to be the Design jury’s inaugural president. I am confident the work we shall see will be inspirational and help make these Lions roar even louder.”

The Fitch agency, which offers brand development, packaging design and corporate branding, has worked with clients such as Amazon, Procter & Gamble and Marks & Spencer.

“We are truly honored to have Rodney Fitch chair the first Design Lions jury,” said Philip Thomas, CEO, Cannes Lions, in a statement. “With such a long and illustrious background in design, working with a broad portfolio of clients from all over the world, the inaugural Design Lions competition could not be in better hands.

That Cannes is only just now adding design while other competitions such as the Art Directors Club Annual Awards and The One Club’s One Show have been rewarding it for years means that Cannes has some catching up to do, said Steve Mykolyn, ecd, Taxi, Toronto, a shop known for incorporating design into its creative.

“I agree with their chairman that it’s about time. It does seem like the moment is ripe [to recognize design] with the convergence of media and with design being part of that,” said Mykolyn. “When you compare them with the D&AD, Cannes is coming a little late to the game. But knowing the resources they’ll put into it, I’m sure it will be done well. Whether they can pull it off and be credible will be partly due to the efforts they put into it and partly due to the jury they end up selecting.”