Media Lions remain in Cannes festival shakeup

The Media Lions are still apart of Cannes' grand spectacle, but changes in award scoring and categories are on the way.
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The Media Lions are still a part of the Cannes Lions, which has announced a number of sweeping changes and new initiatives meant to create a better delegate experience, increase competitiveness and reduce the cost of attending the festival.

The annual event will be shrinking from eight days in length to five, running from Monday to Friday. It announced a host of other changes to its awards categories, entry rules and the way content and award galas during the week are organized. Cannes Lions has also revealed new initiatives and exclusive offers that aim to make attending the festival more cost effective.

A revamped scoring and entry system

The Media Lions are not being removed from the award lineup like the Cyber, Integrated and Promo Lions, which are being retired as part of the new awards structure (it is assumed much of the work that would have otherwise been entered in those categories will still be entered elsewhere).

However, 120 sub-categories are being eliminated across all competitions to make the process simpler, fairer and to limit the number of times a single piece of work can win. It has not been announced which subcategories will be removed, but the high number suggests most (if not all) Lions will see some reductions.

To further increase competitiveness and make it harder for a handful of campaigns to dominate the awards, a new entry cap for the 2018 edition of the festival means that each piece of work can only be entered into a maximum of six Lions.

The scoring system that determines things like the festival’s Agency of the Year award and the agency and country rankings has also been tweaked, offering more of a reward for actually winning a Lion, as opposed to simply appearing on a shortlist. Shortlist mentions and Bronze Lion wins will still be worth one and three points, respectively, but Silver wins will now be worth seven points (up from five), Gold worth 15 points (up from seven) and Grand Prix wins will be worth 30 points (up from 15). Grand Prix wins in the highly competitive Titanium and Creative Effectiveness categories will be worth 35 points, a new addition for 2018.

Throughout the festival, charity work will also be presented to juries separately from commercial client work and awarded separately during shows, with the end goal to eventually have all charity work appear only in the festival’s new “Good” content track by 2020.

Other ways to find savings during the festival

The price of a full delegate pass to the festival has been reduced by 900 euros. Further, any agency that submitted 15 or more entries to the previous year’s festival will receive one free Young Lions pass to be given to someone in their office, which will total 656 free passes in 2018.

Cannes Lions will continue to stream the awards ceremonies through digital platforms, but will also increase the number of public screens from which every award presentation can be watched, as well as the number of panels and speaker sessions that can be viewed for free online.

A package exclusive to Cannes delegates created in partnership with city will also aim to help reduce some of the other costs associated with the festival. That includes a capped rate on taxis from Nice’s airport to Cannes, a price freeze on hotel rates, fixed-price menus at more than 50 restaurants, expanded free WiFi coverage and line-skipping privileges at the airport.

A number of holding companies and agency networks have taken issue with the rising cost of participating in the festival in recent years, most notably Publicis Groupe, which suspended participation from all awards programs for a year to help fund a new AI-powered internal platform called Marcel. Publicis applauded Cannes Lions parent company Ascential in a statement. While it will still not be participating next year, the holding company said that it would “actively participate” in the festival again in 2019.

For more on changes to Cannes Lions competitions and the festival, read “Breaking down the Cannes Lions revamp” in