Cannes Lions 2020 Has Been Canceled, Dates Set for 2021

Advertising awards festival won't be held again until next year

The advertising awards and programming festival typically attracts about 12,000 attendees.
Cannes Lions

Advertising’s biggest event of the year, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, will not go forward with its 2020 edition, organizers announced this morning.

The advertising awards festival, which traditionally takes place in June, had hoped to go on by rescheduling to late October. Now, the next edition of the festival won’t be held until June 21-25, 2021.

Though many events have been postponed or canceled out of fear of spreading the COVID-19 contagion that has ravaged countries around the globe, Cannes Lions organizers said their decision was also influenced by looking at how the coronavirus has disrupted the advertising and marketing world.

“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,” organizers said in a statement.

Cannes Lions chairman Philip Thomas added: “Cannes Lions at its core has always been about creativity and the Lions. We realize 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.”

Looking to the future, Simon Cook, managing director of Cannes Lions, said: “[We] look forward to celebrating and honoring the work in 2021, when the world will hopefully feel more stable, and our community can give their work the focus it deserves.”

The Cannes Lions is the latest event to be scrubbed entirely from the 2020 calendar as the timeline for how long the coronavirus will continue to spread remains unclear.

Events that are moving forward so far have had to make drastic changes. The Interactive Advertising Bureau’s NewFronts have gone digital-only and were rescheduled from April to June—but the TV media buyers conference will be going ahead without some of its biggest participants, including Amazon and Digitas.

The coronavirus has also pushed back primary elections in over a dozen states, with the Democratic National Convention delayed from July to August.

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