At a time when the advertising and media industry are leaning heavily into better representation of diverse audiences — racially, ethnically, culturally and gender-wise — one of its showcase events this morning announced plans to “combat ageism” by celebrating seniors.

Noting that author J.R.R. Tolkien was 62 when he published “The Lord of the Rings” and Da Vinci was 51 when he started painting the Mona Lisa, the Cannes Lions ad festival this morning unveiled the Cannes Senior Lions award to recognize work by industry executives who are 50 years or older.

“By today’s advertising practices, all these people would be without jobs,” the festival’s organizers noted, characterizing the Senior Lions as a counterpoint to their long-running Young Lions awards.

Details on the awards eligibility, criteria and timing were not disclosed, but the organizers noted: “The question is why a progressive industry, which is such a powerful force in driving culture, chose to practice ageism and nonchalantly gets rid of mature, experienced, talented people? Let’s change this.”

Leave a Reply