Ben Bold
Mar 7, 2022

Cannes Lions bans award entries from Russia

Meanwhile, Ukrainian creatives will be welcomed free of charge.

Cannes Lions: not accepting submissions from Russian organisations (Getty Images)
Cannes Lions: not accepting submissions from Russian organisations (Getty Images)

Cannes Lions organiser Ascential has put a moratorium on award submissions and delegations from Russian organisations for this year's Festival of Creativity, joining a growing list of international businesses taking a stand against Vladimir Putin's invasion of Ukraine.

Ascential said in a statement that it was standing "together with our friends in Ukraine, and our many partners and community members in Russia who strongly oppose the actions of the Russian government".

As well as opposing Russia's incursion into Ukraine, Ascential is waiving entry fees for Ukraine creatives – "any and all" – who are able to attend this year's event, which returns to the French Riviera on 20-24 June.

"Refunds on awards submissions for Ukraine agencies will also be honoured," the company said.

The organiser also said it would take an "immediate action" and make a "significant donation to humanitarian charities working in the affected region".

Ascential has set up a talent directory for members of the creative community affected by the war on the Lions platform, urging the global community to "commission and support our friends during these troubled times".

People affected can create a profile here.

At last year's Cannes Lions festival, Russia had 401 award entries and Ukraine 48 entries for work from the previous two years. That followed the cancellation of the 2020 event because of the pandemic.

Ascential's statement comes as an increasing number of organisations – spanning business, media and sports – halt their associations with Russia.

To name a few, Twitter is stopping ads in Ukraine and Russia, while Meta and YouTube are demonetising state-operated Russian news sites, including RT.

In sports, the International Olympic Committee has banned Russian and Belarus athletes, official and teams from participating in the Paralympics; Russian clubs have been suspended from all Fifa and Uefa competitions, meaning the Russia men's team will no longer play in the World Cup play-off matches this month; while Spartak Moscow has been ejected from the Europa league.

The world's of rugby, tennis and Formula 1 have also implemented similar bans.

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