by Sonja Rehm
In the darkened hall of the Palais des Festivals in Cannes, the winners are just entering the stage. They will receive one of the twelve Golden Lions that will be awarded tonight. It glitters magically in the spotlight, is passed around the team, kissed and held aloft. Pride and joy are reflected in the faces of the winners. This is their moment, just as the Cannes Lions motto promises.
Somewhat melancholy, I have to admit to myself that I would also like to stand on the stage and hold one of these lions in my hands. After all, this award is THE award in the industry. Ever since I started in the industry as a junior art director many years ago, this wish has accompanied me. Until today it has remained unfulfilled. And to be honest, this also hurts a bit.
Are you worth less as a creative or even less creative if you haven’t won a Lion?! It’s a question I’ve asked myself time and time again, especially at points in my career when I was job hunting. It took me a few years to realise that creativity is not (only) measurable by awards.
In the end, you are your own creative yardstick. There are so many of us out there who don’t have a lion on the shelf, but still do an insanely good job. Of course, not everything we create every day is gold. But we should approach every project in such a way that we too are proud of our work in the end. Without a stage. Just for ourselves. And maybe it will end with a lion one day after all.
Driven by my post-Cannes Lions motivation, my colleagues will soon have to hear that we UNCONDITIONALLY have to win a Lion. Maybe in the end the well-worn calendar wisdom “If you can imagine it, you can achieve it” will be true. is it?
I close my eyes. It’s Cannes Lions Festival 2026. The hall in the Palais des Festivals is filled to the brim. Nervously, I sit in my cinema seat. Our work is just being presented on the big screen. In a moment we will be called on stage. This is my moment.