Amidst a series of cancellations of high-profile events, such as SXSW, Facebook’s F8, Adobe Summit, Advertising Week Europe, Google I/O, and Mobile World Congress, among a host of others, there has been great anticipation around Cannes Lions in the wake of the global outbreak of COVID-19/Coronavirus.   

As of the time of writing, the annual International Festival of Creativity plans to conduct the event as scheduled from June 22 to 26 in the south of France.   

Simon Cook, Managing Director, Cannes Lions.

However, Simon Cook, Managing Director of Cannes Lions, who said that “as the global situation is evolving constantly”,  stated that the organization will be open to contingency plans. “We have consulted with our customers and partners and have prepared accordingly by putting measures in place to allow flexibility, should we need it. As always, the safety of all those involved is our utmost priority, and any decision we take will reflect this.” 

Cook further said that the festival had secured alternative dates with the Mayor of Cannes and French authorities for October 26th to 30th if postponing the festival were to become inevitable. Cannes Lions will announce the new dates no later than April 15. The deadline to enter work into the festival is April 16.     

“Irrespective of the timing of the festival, we want to reassure the global creative community that we are fully committed to awarding Lions in 2020: all entries will still be judged and awarded by our global juries,” said Cannes Lions in a statement. “As things stand, anyone who is submitting a Lions entry for 2020 should follow the existing process and timeline. If anything about that process changes, we will issue a further announcement.”   

“There’s so much more to Cannes Lions than just the event — than just the festival in Cannes itself,” says Philip Thomas, Chairman, Cannes Lions, in a video particularly filmed for the emergency plan announcement.   

Philip Thomas, Chairman, Cannes Lions.

“We have the Lions, which are the most important thing in many ways to the whole festival and we’re going to award the Lions this year in 2020 come what may, so whether we go ahead in June, whether we go ahead in October, we are going to award the Lions come what may. That is very clearly what the industry is telling us that they want us to do,” Thomas says in the video.   

Earlier this week, Advertising Week Europe, scheduled to take place in London from 16-19 March 2020, announced its shifting to 14-17 September 2020.  The four-day event is traditionally one of the biggest creative events in Britain’s advertising calendar, drawing more than 20,000 attendees from around the world.   

At the time of writing at 18.30 IST, around 118,162 cases of coronavirus have been confirmed around the world in 113 countries, with deaths totalling 4,290, according to the World Health Organization.