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Cannes Lions festival

Cannes Lions festival introduces product design category

News: advertising festival Cannes Lions has added product design to the list of creative disciplines awarded at this year's event.

The festival is introducing product design into its awards programme, the "Oscars of the advertising world" and taking place in the French Riviera this summer, to highlight how important the design of products themselves is to building a brand and promoting it through advertising.

"We are launching product design as a category at Cannes but because the festival is built around great brand communication traditions," Cannes Lions CEO Phil Thomas told Dezeen. "Over the past few years we have seen a desire and a need from marketers to include product design in their brand communications."

Thomas pointed to technology companies Apple and Samsung as examples of companies that use the design of their products as an integral part of their branding.

"Brands who are looking for creative communications solutions are no longer just looking for advertising, in fact they don't even talk in those terms any more," Thomas explained. "They are looking for the whole brand experience which does of course include design."

Cannes Lions trophies
Award winners receive a Cannes Lions trophy

Thomas told us that winning a Lion is considered a major accolade in the advertising world and although there's no cash prize, he said that there is a lot to be gained from receiving one of the trophies.

"It is a bit like an Oscar," said Thomas. "If you win an Oscar you are probably going to sell more bums on seats and it is basically a very similar dynamic. If I win a Lion I am going to get more work because I am going to be more famous. That is the fundamental dynamic."

Thomas hopes that the design sector of the awards will grow to become just as beneficial for the winners in the new product design category.

"We know it will take time for it to build in the product design world," he said, "We want to prove to people that what we offer is something really interesting for them and that they will join this adventure."

Designers and agencies will be able to submit their work to be considered for the Cannes Lions awards in four subsections that fall within product design.

Consumer Goods focuses on the visual impact of a brand through design and will cover items such as electronics, lighting, furniture, homeware and fashion.

Wellbeing and Environmental Impact awards will be given to designs that solve problems, including products that benefit medical procedures and the natural world.

The Solution category is based on innovative designs that improve day-to-day life and finally Interface is about how the user interacts with the products and how information is conveyed.

"We are a very global festival so last year we had 35,000 entries into the festival from 94 countries," said Thomas. "What we are hoping to see is the very best of design from all over the world."

Cannes beach
The festival takes place in the French Riveria resort of Cannes

Cannes Lions began 60 years ago as a festival and awards scheme purely focussed on advertising, but has slowly added other creative fields as the profession has grown to encompass them. The Design section was added recently and already acknowledges graphics and packaging.

This year's festival will take place from 15-21 June in Cannes, France. Entries will be accepted from 2pm today and the deadline to submit projects will be 28 March.

Here's the full press release from Cannes Lions:

Cannes Lions now accepting entires - new Product Design category launches

The 61st Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, taking place from 15 to 21 June 2014, is now accepting entries across all categories. Entries will be judged by an outstanding mix of industry professionals who will come together in Cannes, France, in June to vote and deliberate on over 36,000 entries and ultimately award the best in global creative communications.

Entries can be submitted into 17 categories which are: Branded Content & Entertainment, Creative Effectiveness, Cyber, Design, Direct, Film, Film Craft, Innovation, Media, Mobile, Outdoor, PR, Press, Promo & Activation, Radio, Titanium and Integrated, and new for 2014, Product Design.

Product Design Lions will recognise the applied use of physical products in aiding the communication of a brand ethos as well as its use to have a positive impact on improving people’s lives. The category will be split into four main sub sections:

Consumer Goods

Focus will be placed on its visual impact as well as the use and experience of the brands values through design. Entries in the consumer goods categories will take the following elements into consideration: form, function, problem solving, innovation, production and research. The consumer goods category will include products from electronics, lighting, furniture, homeware and fashion & lifestyle.

Wellbeing and Environmental Impact

Entries will be judged on how effective the solution is in solving real life problems. This award is about making people's lives better through design or the design process. The entries will not be judged on their results in marketing or sales.


Focus will be placed on the ergonomic functionality and day to day solutions provided through design. The jury will be looking for a solution which is new or improves something that


Focus will be placed on the user interfaces’ visual impact, as well as its ease of navigation and ability to convey information.

Commenting on the launch of Product Design, Terry Savage, Chairman of Lions Festivals says: "Brand communication has become such a part of product design that it’s important as a global Festival celebrating creative communications that we now recognise this. Including Product Design Lions as a stand-alone entry category in our awards line up, not only acknowledges this fast growing industry, but helps to set a global benchmark and precedent for the creativity within it."

Terry continues: "As with all new launches we have taken time to consult with the industry, ensuring that the category meets with the needs and expectations of the sector." Adding to this, Danish Designer Lars Larsen, founder and head of design at Kilo, says "A lot of communication today utilises product design. By understanding the core business of a brand we are able to follow through with a design. Awarding and encouraging this way of thinking brings the industry closer to clients and the possibility of designing the solutions of the future. Having a platform such as Cannes Lions makes that possible."

Elsewhere at Cannes Lions, recognising overall performance, a number of Special Awards will be given throughout the Festival week. The Agency of the year, Creative Marketer of the Year, Grand Prix for Good, Holding Company of the Year, Independent Agency of the Year, Lion of St. Mark, Media Person of the Year, Network of the year and Palme d'Or will all be awarded and presented on stage during the four awards ceremonies.

Cannes Lions is now open for entries and submissions are being accepted through the website. As previously announced, the 2014 Festival will see a new-look Cyber Lions category with added Social, Branded Technology and Branded Games sub categories. Significant changes have been made to a number of sub categories, across all entry sections, most notably in PR, Branded Content and Entertainment, Film and Outdoor Lions. Further information on all of the categories, rules and fees can be found here. The deadline for entries is 28 March 2014.