Cannes festival set to award titanium Lion

The organisers of this year's International Advertising Festival in Cannes are introducing a new award - the titanium Lion - to honour an outstanding piece of mould-breaking work.

The award will be presented annually to the producers of a creative execution that "causes the industry to stop in its tracks and reconsider the way forward".

Potential winners can come from any category, or any combination of categories.

They will be judged on innovation in design, thinking, execution, in the development of new forms of communication, or on stimulating the inter-relationship between existing ones.

The titanium Lion is the brainchild of Dan Wieden, the co-founder of Wieden & Kennedy and the head of the film, press and outdoor juries at this year's festival.

Roger Hatchuel, the festival's chairman, said the award was an acknowledgement of the industry's trend towards convergence.

The recipient of the award will be chosen by a majority vote among the four jury presidents.

Meanwhile, the festival has suffered a financial blow with the withdrawal of the 90-strong Chinese delegation because of the Sars epidemic.

Hatchuel claimed the action of the Chinese as well as initiatives by the French health authorities would reassure delegates.

Festival chiefs had feared the Sars outbreak, anti-French sentiment and the global recession would hit attendances. However, registration figures suggest numbers will match those of last year, when the event attracted 8,000 visitors.

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