The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
19-23 June 2023, Cannes, France
We are building a Festival that allows our community to come together and showcase the power of Creativity. Cannes Lions provides an annual forum for global creatives to address the most pressing issues the industry and world are facing today.
The 2023 Festival Content Plan
In 2023, the programme will consist of a limited number of agenda-setting, action-inspiring, knock-it-out-the-park headliners, as well as curated, thought-provoking talks and discussions across the rest of the Festival. We’re creating a programme that inspires, adds value and is inclusive. Our stages will focus on:
- Creative effectiveness has never been more crucial as brands and agencies are compelled to prove the ROI of creativity. When the work is more creative, it’s more effective. When it’s more effective, it drives growth and progress for people, business and society. But this type of work doesn’t just happen. So we will help you identify and cultivate the right conditions for success.
- The Festival provides a global platform for creativity. We want to bring local creativity to the worldwide stage and shine a spotlight on it.
- Brands and agencies are working hard to build creative solutions that connect with real world problems. So we will help you put creative problem solving in context by delivering intelligence about the behaviours, politics, science and society shaping humanity.
- Creativity can come from anywhere. We want to draw inspiration from a broader and more diverse spectrum of creative disciplines, creators, visionaries and thinkers that will help inspire your work.
- We celebrate and recognise the finished article and the polished piece of work, but we really learn from the hurdles, the struggles, the blunders and the breakthroughs. It’s great to have our moment in the sun, but we’re all ‘in the making’, and that’s where you find the gold.
- This year, we will be commemorating our 70th edition of the Cannes Lions Festival, but giving you a forecast of what the future will bring for creativity and creative businesses.
Submit your ground-breaking idea
The audience of the Cannes Lions Festival includes the legends of our industry - the most awarded creatives, game-changing brands and innovative business leaders. The content you put forward must aim to inspire the brightest minds. They want to hear from left-field thinkers, scientists, artists, those who are able to unlock a new way of thinking and inspire creativity. We want to hear from those people who are not just from our industry but from experts who can help creatives see their challenges a little differently.
Spaces on the programme will be limited and highly competitive. We’re looking for thought leadership in the highest form, completely original thinking and something that will exclusively premiere and make the headlines on stages at Cannes Lions.
Inject some Cannes Lions magic. You know, that je ne sais quoi ;)
You know that sparkle? The speech that gives you goosebumps, the article you end up emailing around your team, the video that truly opened your eyes to new thinking. Please aim to raise the creative bar. You don’t need a rabbit in a hat (who needs gimmicks?) but Cannes Lions is the world’s largest gathering of a creative community. Think of your content idea within this context. What would "wow" the creative industry who have incredible content at their fingertips? How does yours stand out a cut above the rest? Offering something new and exciting to the plethora of content already available to this industry today. So tell us, what's your sparkle?
What’s front of mind for the Cannes Lions audience?
Look out for The LIONS | State of Creativity Study we're planning to release in February 2023. Designed to uncover the industry's attitudes and approaches towards creativity, and paint an accurate picture of what will impact the creative economy tomorrow.
But, for now, we’ve spoken to 100s of people across the global creative community, and here are some of the thought-starters and questions that our audience wants to understand:
- What’s the role of creativity in driving business value, growth and solving problems, especially in an economic downturn?
- How can you balance long-term branding building with short-term tactical investments?
Doing more with less
- How can you create more effective, breakthrough creative work on a lower budget?
- What does great creativity in a cost of living crisis look like?
- How to build a creative culture that is brave and empower your talent to be brave in a period of economic crisis.
- What are the secrets to building a transparent and trusting client-agency relationship?
The talent crisis is just beginning
- How can the industry embrace creative decentralisation and prepare for the culture of next-gen creatives?
- What are the key elements to enrich and retain world-class, diverse talent?
- How does your talent need to develop in the next 5 years?
- The ability to persuade, innovating at speed, embedding AI into the process, collaboration - what will be the key skills needed to creatively survive and thrive?
70 years ahead
- What new agency and network models will help progress creativity for the next 70 years?
- What can we learn from creative leaders of the last 70 years to navigate through times of crisis?
Innovation: what’s hype & what’s must-have?
- Web3, the metaverse, NFT’s: how do they make sense and add value to your brand?
- What’s next for creativity in the gaming ecosystem?
The rise of the creator economy
- How to succeed in influencer marketing: Why community is key.
- What are the challenges and opportunities in the creator economy?
- What are the creative tools to enhance customer experience and win attention?
- What are the key personalities of Gen Z, Y and Alpha and how can brands tap into their mindset and consumer behaviour?
Building a better tomorrow - positive change & accountability
- What are the top tools anyone needs to turn DE&I or Sustainability talk into action?
- What’s the practical side of creative positive change and how can brand accountability create impact with consumers?
What we're looking for
We know that a moment on stage at Cannes Lions is a big opportunity and equally, a huge responsibility. The programme will help serve the global creative community to push the bar and strive for creative excellence - for themselves, for their businesses, for the world. So we take this seriously and ask that you consider the following Guiding Principles when putting together a content submission for Cannes Lions. Your submission will be reviewed with these Guiding Principles in mind, so stress test your ideas against each before submitting.
Break out of the echo chamber
Break out of the echo chamber and inspire the global creative community with out-of-the-box thinking and original problem-solving. All content and thought leadership MUST premiere at Cannes Lions, so don't submit or rework anything you’ve presented at another industry event or on another digital platform. Are you thinking about crowd-pleasing themes or are you putting forward new ideas that will challenge the industry, disrupt thought patterns or drive a significant change? Are you offering diversity of thought in your topic, with never-been-heard before views that might open up new ways of approaching a topic? Is this something the industry truly needs to know and hasn't been heard before, or is it echoing more of the same, a rinse and repeat, or worse... skippable?
What we’re looking for: The submission brings in a plethora of perspectives, outside of the industry norms and stereotypes associated with this topic. It's either brand-new thinking or a totally fresh perspective on an age-old challenge. It's boundary-busting, game-changing, Titanium-esque thinking.
What we’re not looking for: The content has been seen before. The submission reinforces industry norms and ideas. There is no consideration given to alternative perspectives. It's the same people, talking about the same stuff.
Define a single, clear message. Stick to it. And then go deep
Don't say it all, and nothing at all. It's our job at Cannes Lions to curate a holistic content programme that speaks to all of the hottest topics in the industry, so you don't need to. So focus on one thing, be clear about what you are saying or the issue you are trying to address, and cover it in depth and due diligence. What is the key message you want to be known for and for an audience member or journalist to walk away from your session thinking about? Define a single, clear message, and stick to it. Dive as deep as you can into the topic. Don’t just skim the surface. Remember, if you have more session ideas/topics, you can enter multiple content submissions. But make sure each has a single message and clear purpose. As Apple's Tor Myhren once said on stage, "simple is hard". But we know from the highest-rated sessions at Cannes Lions, it's well worth the effort.
What we’re looking for: The key message is so clear with such depth and expertise that an audience member will feel knowledgeable when they walk away.
What we’re not looking for: The idea has no clear direction. It's covering several topics and issues and answering none of them in depth. An audience member will walk out without a clear understanding of what they've just learnt, or will say it skimmed the surface.
SCOTT GALLOWAY, THE GANG OF FOUR SESSION DESCRIPTION
In the race for digital dominance, the gang of four have emerged - Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Google. As they continue to grab share in the retail and media industries, who will fall victim at the hands of the gang? What are their impacts on broader business and society as a whole? Scott Galloway, Clinical Professor of Marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business and Founder of L2, outlines his predictions in a 90-mile-an-hour volley of data and insights. His provocative perspective will have audience members rethinking their assumptions about where the world is headed next, as he shares insights on who will thrive or die in a digital age.
Be upfront about what the audience will practically takeaway
We encourage you to begin thinking around your content idea by answering a simple question - so what? What will the Cannes Lions audience gain from attending your talk? What change will your session incite? Think about actions over words and practicality over big crowd-pleasing messages. What practical tools can I share to help this audience in their pursuit for creative excellence? What are the key action points the audience should be scribbling in their notebooks as we present this idea? Exemplify your thoughts with some real-world examples of what best practice looks like. Actionable thought leadership is what makes it sticky and resonate with the audience long after the Festival. And if you're going to talk the talk, make sure you can walk the walk - show us how it's done, offer step-by-step guides, help them learn from your mistakes, but ultimately be upfront about what practical takeaways the audience will gain in exchange for their time and attention.
What we’re looking for: It's abundantly clear what the audience will gain from attending. The takeaways stand out. An audience member will feel a generous ROI from attending.
What we’re not looking for: Upon reading this submission, you find yourself saying "that's cool, but so what?". It's not clear what the audience will gain by attending this talk.
Ask (and answer) the difficult questions. Provoke, challenge, incite
This could be your moment to step out on stage at Cannes Lions and speak to the world's best problem solvers. And what do problem solvers want... to be challenged! No one wants to hear what they already know. It's really as simple as that. Don't play it safe - be daring and be provocative. The best sessions at Cannes Lions ask and answer the questions you know everyone is dying to say out loud. Find the contention. There's magic in the contention. Be provocative. There's creativity to be discovered in provocation. Disrupt. Challenge the audience to think differently. Incite. Find a way to move them in a way they haven't been before. If you're interviewing, ask the difficult questions. “Love-ins” do not offer our audience any new insight or make them feel challenged. Before you hit send, review your submission, and if you feel challenged to present it, or you take a big gulp and start feeling a little cold sweat thinking "oh no, we can't ask that". Keep going. You're heading in the right direction.
What we’re looking for: This session is truly challenging assumptions and offers new (and radical) ideas. It's not only asking but providing the answers to the really thorny questions.
What we’re not looking for: This idea is "playing it safe".
Kara Swisher and Ted Sarandos, CEO of Netflix on stage at Cannes Lions 2022
ALMA & PEPSI SESSION DESCRIPTION
Find out how Pepsi and alma DDB broke down traditional barriers when co-creating a powerful idea with breakthrough execution, yielding what many call the best work in Pepsi history. Learn how these “co-conspirators” found a powerful insight, and through a unique perspective, brought to life the fact that the core idea was hiding in plain sight, ultimately disrupting the Cola Wars with unapologetic creativity.
Hear from Todd Kaplan, Chief Marketing Officer - Pepsi, and Luis Miguel Messianu, alma DDB Chairman as they share the disruptive #BetterWithPepsi work and others that showcase how to remove traditional client-agency biases throughout the creative process. Be inspired by a new approach to collaboration that consistently fuels inspiration.
Make sure it's hyper relevant to the Cannes Lions audience
Ensure your idea resonates with the creative challenges of the Cannes Lions audience. If you feel you could lift and shift your idea and present it on stage elsewhere, it's probably not right for Cannes Lions. The tools, tips and thought leadership you share will need to apply to creatives, marketers, strategists, creative business leaders and many more. From independents to big networks. From Young Lions to Lion of St Marks. Know who you are trying to reach and keep your audience in mind at all times. Stress test your idea with your prospective audience. Get a bunch of creatives in a room and ask them if this topic/talk speaks to them and will help them do their jobs better. If it's only nice-to-know and not something that will help them sleep better at night, it's not quite right yet. Keep laser focused on who you are trying to reach and be clear about this in your submission.
What we’re looking for: Something that uses creative examples and could be used straight away by the audience when they return to their day jobs - even if your ideas and examples are not from the creative industry.
What we’re not looking for: Broad, generic presentations that don’t reflect the real world that our industry operates in.
All content must have DE&I at its core
At LIONS, all of our content has diversity, equity and inclusion as part of its core values. Demonstrate how your content idea amplifies and drives industry change. Consider the voices you’re centring and the difference they could make with the platform Cannes Lions provides. Before submitting, please ensure your session reflects the world at large, does it speak to a global audience, is your session inclusive? Go beyond the industry: liaise with professionals from fields such as film, philosophy, art and music who are strongly connected with creativity and what the creative community cares about. Seek input from voices less heard in the industry to provide a different perspective. Inspire. We will not move forward with any content submission that does not meet our values.
What we’re looking for: The submission demonstrates leading thinking on diversity, equity and inclusion - both in the selection of speakers to represent the content and in the core ideas and perspectives presented.
What we’re not looking for: The submission is rooted in Western centric ideals and reinforces stereotypes through a lack of representation and/or a lack of bringing in underrepresented voices, thoughts and perspectives.
Marc Pritchard, P&G, on stage at Cannes Lions 2022 with the “Creativity as a Force for Good” seminar
Be a storyteller & build an authentic connection
All of the highest-rated sessions at Cannes Lions have one thing in common - they tell a story. Serenade the audience, don’t sell to them. The thought leadership and ideas you share are about creating a connection, not a transaction. We’re not looking for sales pitches, we want progression. Think of how you want the audience to feel when they walk out of that theatre - joy, sadness, anger, excitement - and set out to make them feel it. They will remember you for it. Ensure your speakers have a strong, authentic, personal connection to the topic. Our audience will know if they don't. They should be able to present their ideas on stage irrespective of where they work, because it's their passion! And if you can, don’t just tell, show. People love to see examples of work. Creatives are visual people. Even if your piece of content is not in a visual format, think of how you share examples to bring your point to life. Be a storyteller.
What we’re looking for: A story that makes people feel something - an emotional connection that you build with your audience.
What we’re not looking for: Sales pitches about your company or business.
Bring it to life. Be original in you in your format
Now you've thought hard about what your key message is and who you want to say it, think about HOW you plan to bring it to life on stage. Panels can often suck as they follow the same, dry format. So how can you innovate the format? Some find presentations can be too passive. 1-2-1 interviews can turn into love-ins. What can you do to be different? A hint: it’s probably not a traditional panel discussion. People want to connect with what's happening on stage. Think about different ways of how you can practically involve your audience. Surprise us with your innovative thinking and think about going beyond a discussion format or a traditional keynote. We would rather you came to us with a wild idea and a super experiential format and have to ask you to dial it down, than dial it up. Dare to be bold. We dare ya!
What we’re looking for: Originality and a splash of theatre. Innovate in the way you tell your story on stage. Bring a demo, introduce props, use some innovative audiovisual components. Something that gets people talking.
What we’re not looking for: Dull, often-used formats with a panel of people that don’t bring anything new to the debate. If you’re doing an interview or panel then prepare for it as much as you would a presentation with visuals to illustrate the points you are making.
But ultimately… it doesn’t need to be perfect
We're not looking for 10 steps because a 10-step guide is a snappier title. We're not looking for a shoe-horned special guest because you think it's missing a little pizazz. We're not looking for you to cover all of the industry's biggest issues in one go. We're looking for fresh ideas, depth of expertise, brilliant live experiences, even if they are unapologetically imperfect presentations in the making. And we can't wait to read all of your ideas and work with you to bring them to life on stage at Cannes Lions.
Don’t want to host an entire session, but would like to put forward a brilliant speaker?
There are a number of sessions Cannes Lions curate as part of the content programme. From CMOs to CCOs, and Future Gazers to Changemakers, we’re looking for them all.
Simply select Nominate a Speaker here and put forward some great talent.
We're looking for visionaries with unconventional ideas that challenge the status quo and doers to share practical tools and actionable strategies.
Changemakers transforming brands, businesses, organisations, or society.
Creative Leaders who dare to think differently, shake things up and drive positive change.
Chief Creative Officers willing to take a creative risk and share mentorship advice with the global creative community.
Creators to share insights into the creative process and uncover secrets behind the winning work.
Chief Marketing Officers and brand leaders who believe in the transformational power of creativity.
Future-gazers and trendsetters paving the way for what's next for the creative industry and beyond.