Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity confirmed today that it is still planning for its June 22 - June 26 event in Cannes, France, as scheduled, but could postpone it to Oct. 26 - Oct. 30 if necessary.
Ad Age first reported on Monday that Cannes had worked alternative October dates into its contingency plans but was still moving ahead for June, citing people close to the decision.
Cannes said in its statement today it's monitoring the situation and following "all guidance from health and government officials," and should it have to postpone to October, it would make the announcement no later than April 15.
"We remain fully committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, employees, sponsors and partners," Cannes said. "The festival, working closely with the mayoral office of Cannes and the French authorities, has secured alternative dates of 26-30 October 2020, if changing circumstances require us to postpone the event from June."
The festival also assured that "we are fully committed to awarding Lions in 2020: all entries will still be judged and awarded by our global juries," and anyone entering work should follow its existing guidelines.
"As we stand today, all of our plans are proceeding as scheduled," Cannes Lions Managing Director Simon Cook added in a statement. "However, as the global situation is evolving constantly, we want to be open about our 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.”
The announcement follows mounting concerns over the spread of the coronavirus, formally known as COVID-19, which have caused various events to postpone or cancel including SXSW in Austin, Texas and MipTV in Cannes, France. French authorities also recently banned certain gatherings of over 1,000 people in the wake of the pandemic.
It also comes after Cannes Film Festival President Pierre Lescure told France's Le Figaro newspaper that the fate of this year's event remains uncertain, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "We remain reasonably optimistic in the hope that the peak of the epidemic will be reached at the end of March and that we will breathe a little better in April," Lescure said. "But we are not oblivious. If [the situation does not improve], we’ll cancel."
As of now, the 2020 ANA Masters of Marketing Conference in Orlando is still scheduled to take place from Oct. 20 - Oct. 23, just days ahead of Cannes if it is forced to reschedule.
"No plans for any cancellations as of yet," a spokesperson for the ANA said. "We’re monitoring the virus situation closely, but so far no plans for any conference cancellations."