LONDON — The upcoming Cannes Lions festival’s debut track for creativity in the booming segment of advertising technology has attracted 845 award entries in its first year.

Ahead of the iconic festival starting June 21, a record total 40,133 award entries have been submitted. Lions Innovation, which will see data, technology and creativity intersect, has received 226 entries into the Innovation category and 619 entries into Creative Data.

Ad tech companies are shaking up the media sector by promising advertisers more precise control over consumer targeting and trading.

Cannes Lions CEO Philip Thomas, the UK magazine publishing veteran who took the helm at the awards in 2006, tells Beet.TV in this video interview the festival is adapting to reflect changes: “It’s a mirror of the industry. All of the ecosystem is now attending.

“Our festival is just about creativity, so finding a place for ad-tech has been a challenge. But this year we’ve launched our Innovation Festival, which will give them a part to show what they can do. Unilever are bringing 50 startups to a startup academy we’ve got.”

2015 Entries by Category
Branded Content & Entertainment Lions 1,394
Creative Data Lions 619
Creative Effectiveness Lions 160
Cyber Lions 3,738
Design Lions 2,409
Direct Lions 2,813
Film Lions 3,070
Film Craft Lions 2,205
Glass lion: The Lion for Change 166
Health & Wellness Lions 1,430
Innovation Lions 226
Media Lions 3,179
Mobile Lions 1,246
Outdoor Lions 5,037
Pharma Lions 432
PR Lions 1,969
Press lions 4,470
Product Design Lions 280
Promo & Activation Lions 3,196
Radio Lions 1,720
Titanium and Integrated Lions 374
TOTAL 40,133  

We interviewed Thomas as part of the series The Road to Cannes, our lead-up to the Cannes Lions Festival presented by Coull.  Please visit this page for additional segments.  This interview took place in the London office of SMG.