Cannes Lions 2019: Jury To Scrutinise Ads Featuring Stereotypes

Cannes Lions

By Joshua Ajayi

For the fast approaching global creative mundial, Cannes Lions Festival coming up this June, its organisers have updated its jury guidelines urging judges to consider whether ads perpetuate damaging stereotypes and inequalities before bestowing an award.

According to a report by online medium,, the revised guidance means jury members will also be asked to consider whether the work represents deep-rooted stereotypical portrayals of gender, age, race, ethnicity, disability or other biases.

In the report, it notes, “the rethink has been introduced as a result of Cannes Lions partnership with the Unstereotype Alliance – an initiative chaired by UN Women in tandem with Unilever, P&G and more of the world’s biggest brands that aims to banish harmful stereotypes from creative executions.

It quoted Cannes Lions chairman Philip Thomas to have said, “The Lions our Juries award each year act as a benchmark for the global creative community, and it is more important than ever for our industry to showcase and champion inclusive, empowering, forward-thinking ideas.”

He said that as consumers demand more of brands and businesses, the new guidelines will help to ensure that the work honoured at Cannes Lions is “admired not only for its creative brilliance but for its reflection of the world as a place of equality and tolerance.”

The refreshed criteria forms part of Cannes Lions’ ongoing efforts to support a more diverse and inclusive industry. In 2018, €114,450 of the entry proceeds for its Glass Lion award (which celebrates culture-shifting creativity) were given to the Unstereotype Alliance and The Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media.

The funding has enabled both initiatives to develop further original research on the harm of stereotypes in creative communications.

Having been formed at Cannes in 2017, the Unstereotype Alliance has chosen the festival to launch a number of initiatives, including a recent push from Unilever to tackle stereotypes in the music industry with the help of Simon Fuller – the pop mastermind behind the Spice Girls.

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