Cannes Lions, promoted as the International Festival of Creativity, will reward creativity in branded content and entertainment. Avi Savar, founder and chief creative officer, Big Fuel, a New York based social media marketing and communications company, will chair the inaugural Branded Content and Entertainment Lions jury.
“The International Advertising Festival at Cannes is the premier advertising award show. I am honoured and excited to participate and look forward to the celebration of branded content and entertainment as part of it,” said Savar. “As jury president I hope to guide the process in a way that will inspire people to create innovative and immersive content,” he added.
Philip Thomas, chief executive officer, Cannes Lions, said, “Branded content and entertainment has become key to brand communication that creatively engages with consumers. Therefore to include it in Cannes Lions is important not only for the continued development of the Festival as a global celebration of creativity in communications, but to also give due recognition of the convergence of marketing and entertainment.”
“We are delighted to count on the expertise of Avi Savar, an innovator whose work continues to influence the shape of brand communications, media and customer engagement, to guide and set the standard of this new category in its inaugural year,” he continued.
Entrants to the Branded Content and Entertainment Lions category are expected to demonstrate how a brand has successfully worked independently or in association with a content producer or publisher to develop and create or co-create entertaining and engaging content for their audience. This could be either by creating original content or programming for a brand or by naturally integrating a brand into existing formats by partnering with a publisher or media partner.
Entries should demonstrate how consumer insight successfully integrated into original content drives audience engagement and creates synergy across paid, owned and earned media. Entries to Branded Content and Entertainment Lions might leverage a single media channel, such as web video or broadcast, but may also use multiple platforms to deliver content to audiences across various channels, including: radio, magazines, books, gaming, music, video, mobile, social, community, blogs, experiential events, and more.
Organisers also informed that since the use of branded content and entertainment differs from one country to another, entrants will be required to describe the current situation around branded content and entertainment in their country or the region where the campaign appeared, including any restrictions or regulations imposed by TV stations, broadcasting companies, government or other regulating body.
Savar will lead nine branded content and entertainment experts from around the world. He launched Big Fuel, a pure-play social media agency designed for the needs of large brands, in 2004. What started as a one-man “branded content studio” has today grown into the largest social media agency in the world – with clients that include: T-Mobile, Sherton, Westin, Starwood Preferred Guest, The Children’s Place, Nurtisystem, Bacardi, Gore-Tex, Citi, Clorox, Anheuser-Busch InBev and Philips. In June 2011, Avi led Big Fuel to a successful acquisition by French media giant Publicis Groupe thus giving Big Fuel a global footprint and making it the most dominant social media agency worldwide.
The Branded Content and Entertainment Lions winners will be announced on Saturday 23 June, in Cannes, alongside the Film, Craft, Titanium and Integrated winners. Branded Content and Entertainment, together with the already announced new Mobile Lions section, brings the total number of Cannes Lions awards categories to 15.