Cannes Lions 2016 – International Festival of Creativity

By Simon Pearson Events Comments Off on Cannes Lions 2016 – International Festival of Creativity


Awards season in Cannes is something rather unique. Situated in the south of France it plays host to the rich and famous all year round but for a few short weeks the awards circus comes to town. During that time much time and attention it understandably shone on the Film Festival and all the stars that come with it.

Once the A-list stars have departed with reputations enhanced or in Sean Penn’s case in tatters. Cannes prepares itself for another influx of creative talent. Cannes Lions is Adland’s own celebration of the year gone by and it is here that the best campaigns of the year are crowned with the highest honours.

50708-thumbBefore working as an editor/colourist in the advertising industry I wasn’t that aware of Cannes Lions but soon after starting at CHI&PARTNERS just over a year ago I was soon aware of how large this particular awards ceremony was. Being new or not I was immediately thrown into the deep end and one of my first jobs was helping to edit and grade the Lexus Hoverboard content, which there was a lot of!

From teaser trailers to short documentaries we covered every possible avenue for creative content over my first few months, which ultimately lead the Lexus team and myself to Cannes Lions 2016 all be it for slightly different reasons. The Lexus Hoverboard TVC and content was nominated for a multiple of awards this year across a host of categories and it was amazing to see how far all of our hard work had come.

lexus-hoverboard-1After finding out about the nominations everyone in the agency began looking forward the annual pilgrimage to Cannes with the hope of going one step further and picking up one of the prestigious gold lions. As an editor and colourist I expected to witness the event from a far in the safe confines of our Soho basement but fortunately opportunity came knocking.

Cannes offers an incredible networking opportunity for all who attend but it also offers a great opportunity to create content for the advertising industry about the advertising industry, which is where the knocking opportunity comes in. Working in a production and post-production team within the walls of CHI we were tasked with going out to Cannes to creating content. This is something CHI has done in previous years but this year was a new level. Cannes Lions 2016 was my first experience of a world I never expected to be apart of.

From the outside looking in I wonder what it must look like but at times. Having been involved in it this year it feels about as far removed from reality as possible. One minute you’re listening to the industry big hitters like Sir Martin Sorrell, Shane Smith and our very own Johnny Hornby talking about how the world of advertising is changing. Then on next door is the Fresh Prince giving a talk on film marketing. What!?

But behind the million pound yachts, celebrity speakers and fancy rooftop parties lies a bed of creative talent and expertise that is leading the way in how we consume everyday media in ways I hadn’t previously realised.

We were working on content that showed how advertisings leading figure heads are challenging the problems our industry is facing. Privacy, ad bots and now Brexit were all hot topics by the end of our week in Cannes. Same day edit deadlines were something I’ve experience before but not quite to this level. Working at Cannes is the fastest moving environment I’ve ever worked in, which was quite a surprise given the already fast moving nature of the ad industry.

Overall my first experience of Cannes Lions was an extremely positive one. Yes the yacht, pool and rooftop parties were fun but at a time where the ad agencies are fighting against various threats to our industry (Brexit being the most immediate concern) a week in Cannes can seem a pointless and self indulged endeavour but it actually serves a greater purpose. It’s clear to an op and Cannes virgin like myself that the chatter on the Cannes Palais is more than just hot air in the Riviera sun but rather evidence that the industry is in strong place to survive the uncertain times that may be heading our way.

The final twist in a week of highs, hangovers and deadlines was when we found out how well the Hoverboard did at the awards ceremony. The Lexus Hoverboard came away with three awards, which are listed below.




You can see the full list of winners here.

It was a pleasure to be apart of that project and everyone across all departments worked so hard and tirelessly to achieve something truly innovative. A job very well done by all who were involved and hopefully we can experience similar celebrations next year on the French Riviera.


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