It had to happen sooner or later. The Cannes International Advertising Festival, after proudly separating ad agencies from their money for 54 years, has decided to introduce design categories for next year.
The Design Lions will honour Packaging Design, Brand Identity and Environmental Design. Rodney Fitch, chairman and CEO of Fitch Worldwide, London, will be the chairman of the jury. There will also be a Design Grand Prix.
“I had often wondered why Cannes never honored design; for isn’t design the very platform on which so much creative endeavor is based?” asked Fitch. “Now that the world has come to its senses, I’m greatly honored and not a little humbled to be the Design jury’s inaugural president. I am confident the work we shall see will be inspirational and help make these Lions roar even louder.”
Well they’ll certainly help line the pockets of Emap (or whoever ends up owning the event following Emap’s sale). Presumably the troubled publishing house has been casting long envious glances in the direction of D&AD and its thousands of design entries and decided it would quite like some of that.
Will design fit in on the Croisette? With the cash needed to both enter and attend, Cannes is likely to prove a pull more for the large branding networks than the kind of smaller, independent operations from which much of the genuinely innovative work emanates. UK designers already complain that it costs too much to attend D&AD - you ain’t seen nothing yet…