The Cannes Lions festival is adding an ambitious new category next year to include big data for the first time in the world's biggest ad awards. The move was expected, after Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas confirmed at the end of this year's festival in June that industry execs were being consulted about the need for a data award and how to link it with creative ideas.
In an announcement today, the festival said the Creative Data Lions will be part of a new two-day Lions Innovation Festival that will include the existing Innovation Lions. That contest will take place during the week-long Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which next year kicks off June 21.
"The Lions Innovation Festival will highlight how data and technology can be powerful catalysts for creativity," Mr. Thomas said in the statement.
Awards will be added for standalone and branded technological solutions, adtech platforms and models, the festival said. In addition to the awards judging, there will be a program of talks and demonstrations. The two-day Lions Innovation Festival, to be held on June 25 and 26, can be attended as a separate event or as part of the week-long festival.
Back in June, Mr. Thomas said the festival was also being urged to add other new categories like shopper marketing, music, and b-to-b. He said then that if those areas were added at some point, they would likely be embedded within existing categories, and that data would be the only full new category for 2015.
The festival walks a fine line between potential new categories and complaints from festival goers that there are already too many. At this year's festival, there were a whopping 17 categories, not counting a new two-day Health Lions festival that took place right before the main festival, with mixed results.