LONDON – The content agenda for the Cannes Lions festival in 2020 is now open for applications, and the year’s agenda themes have been set. The festival will host discussions around the most important topics influencing and shaping the creative and advertising industries. But most importantly, Charlotte Williams, Cannes Lions’ vp of content, wants to ensure that attendees walk away with not just big ideas, but action plans for meaningful business outcomes.

“The program is more focused on business outcomes and media outcomes, because the people we’ve spoken to see them as critically intersecting, and you can’t have one without the other,” Williams told Beet.TV in a video interview at the Cannes Lions headquarters in London.

Cannes Lions gathered insight from hundreds of practitioners in the industry, including chief creative and marketing officers, chief strategies, brand leaders and agency CEOs. From the information gathered, the Cannes Lions team established the eight themes for next year’s festival. They are, according to Williams:

  • Creativity is the business growth engine – “That’s key,” says Williams.
  • Creative disruption in commerce, which builds on a theme that came from last year’s festival.
  • Post-purpose: Brand accountability and activism.
  • Your brand is my experience, “about brand experience being everything.”
  • Looking to 2030: Making businesses future-fit and fit for purpose.
  • Applied creativity: When data, tech and ideas collide, “and very much the application of that tech.”
  • Storytelling at scale.
  • Let’s get back to brand.

“What we’ve noticed this year is a bit of a shift in some areas,” says Williams. Purpose has ramped up into accountability and activism, and there’s a real emphasis on sustainability as a business necessity, she adds. “There will be a big emphasis on sustainability. As a convener of the world’s largest festival of creativity, we think we have a responsibility to draw on the expertise of people at the festival to make commitments. There will be some interesting, actionable activities at the festival,” she says.

To submit a content application, visit