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AMV BBDO cancels team attending Cannes Lions at last minute due to terrorism fears as organisers heighten security across the resort

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By Stephen Lepitak, -

June 19, 2016 | 4 min read

Omnicom creative agency AMV BBDO is understood to have pulled a contingent of young creatives out of attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity amid safety concerns.

Le Palais Cannes

Le Palais Cannes

The Drum has learned that the agency, which annually sends a group of young members of staff to attend, has chosen against doing so after recent terrorism acts in France and Belgium, however it is thought that some senior figures from the agency do still plan to attend.

It is understood that the decision was taken last week to scrap the trip for the group following Belgian Intelligence indicating that an attack was imminent in one of the countries.

When asked, the agency chose not to comment about the decision and Omnicom has also yet to respond to The Drum's approaches.

The organisers of the festival said that it was unaware of any agencies changing its plans.

"We take the safety of attendees very seriously, and we’ve been working closely with the City of Cannes on additional security arrangements for Cannes Lions this year," stated Lions CEO Phil Thomas.

In March, the organisers of Cannes Lions issued a statement online recognising the fears of potential attendees, stating that 'additional security arrangements' would be in place and that it would receive 'Level 4' security cover this year, the same as the annual film festival received.

Walking around Le Palais on the weekend of the festival, extra security was evident with barriers surrounding Le Palais des Festivals and marketing stands outside of it for the first time, while bag searches were taking place and security detection devices were also being used at several check points.

The Piazza and the Public Beach will only be accessible to official delegates, while there are 18 check points around the perimeter barriers, an increased police presence and heightened city surveillance has been added. The north side of Le Croisette has been closed to traffic along the major palace hotels including The Carlton and beyond the Martinez. Police checkpoints will also run between 5pm through to 6am each night of the festival too.

Thomas added: "It’s important to note that these measures have been put in place in response to events in Europe as a whole, and as we are in continuous contact with the security authorities here, the current intelligence assessment is that there is no direct threat to Cannes Lions or the City of Cannes."

According to an earlier statement from organisers, 'an exercise' also took place in April in order to rehearse response procedures to 'any major incident' which involved the head of security for Cannes Lions.

It is not thought that any other Omnicom agency has changed its plans, with Omnicom Media Group and OMD both having taken venues near the Palais this year.

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