Long-running advertising industry tentpole Cannes Lions is the latest event to be postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Ascential, the British media business that’s put on the five-day Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France for more than 60 years, has officially bumped it from June to October, Adweek reports.
“The global situation is dynamic and changing rapidly,” Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions’ chairman, told the outlet. “We felt it was critical to provide visibilty on June as soon as possible.”
The festival will now take place Oct. 26-30 at its usual venue: Palais des Festivals et des Congrès in Cannes, France.
Cannes Lions generally draws around 12,000 attendees, who gather to attend dozens of creative communication-focused panels and workshops, see exhibitions from major advertisers like Google and Facebook, and watch awards doled out to the year’s most innovative marketing. But some businesses that usually attend expressed concerns to the Wall Street Journal that the festival’s new date could conflict with other postponed events, or that, because of economic stress stemming from coronavirus, attendees simply won’t come.
“Some things will have to be picked over the others and that will be a very tough choice,” Angela Zepeda, Hyundai Motor America’s chief marketing officer, told WSJ. “That’s going to be a very, very busy month.”
In a statement, Ascential said it decided to postpone “after much deliberation with our partners and customers, as well as consultation with public health officials, the mayoral office of Cannes, and the French authorities.” It added that it will continue these discussions “as we adopt our contingency plans.”
Ascential’s decision comes two days after France went into near-total lockdown as part of what president Emmanuel Macron called “a public health war” against coronavirus. The country has become a COVID-19 hotspot, with more than 9,000 cases and 264 deaths. In lockdown, it has closed its borders for 30 days, shuttered all schools, restaurants, and shops, and has requested that people stay home and severely limit contact with others.
Other major industry events that have been postponed or outright cancelled include film festival SXSW, music festival Coachella, broadcasting confab NAB Show, gaming conference E3, two international VidCon meetups, and Apple, Facebook, and Google’s developer conferences.