Dx3 cancels day two, Cannes Lions sets contingency plan

An earlier possible COVID-19 transmission at the venue closes the marketing event early, while Cannes confirms fall backup dates.

Day two of retail, technology and marketing conference Dx3 2020 has been cancelled, following news that another conference held at the same venue last week may have been the site of what is believed to be the first community transmission of COVID-19 in Ontario.

Public Health Sudbury and Districts posted an update on Tuesday that a man in his 50s attended the PDAC 2020 convention at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre on March 2 and 3. This man is the first positive case of COVID-19 in the Sudbury and Manitoulin districts, Dr. Penny Sutcliffe, medical officer of health with Public Health Sudbury and Districts confirmed on Tuesday, making transmission at the conference a likely cause.

“Because DX3 2020 is held at the same venue, we think it is the responsible thing to do and we have to cancel the second day of the event,” Dx3 Canada organizers said in a Wednesday press release. “The safety of our participants is our highest priority. We want you all to stay safe and that’s why we are canceling. It’s an unfortunate situation, though we hope you understand.”

The event – which consists of more than 3,200 attendees, 100 speakers and 50 exhibitors – would have had brands including McDonalds, Rogers, Coca-Cola and numerous ad agencies participating in content planned for the second day.

Meanwhile, Cannes Lions announced that its festival is still scheduled to take place from June 22 to 26 in France. It did, however provide “an update on contingency planning,” as a result of the ongoing evolution of COVID-19. Between its nightly awards shows, daily conference content and numerous networking events, Cannes Lions is the largest annual gathering in the creative marketing community, regularly welcoming over 12,000 registered delegates.

“We continue to monitor the situation closely and follow all guidance from health and government officials. We remain fully committed to ensuring the health, safety and wellbeing of our customers, employees, sponsors and partners,” the festival stated in a press release.

The festival is working closely with the Cannes Mayoral office and the French Authorities and has secured alternate dates from Oct. 26-30 “if changing circumstances require us to postpone the event from June,” the release stated. The festival said if they were to change the dates, it would notify its customers no later than April 15. Submission deadlines for awards entries remain unchanged.

On Monday, French authorities banned all gatherings of over 1,000 people through the end of March; the largest theatre in the Palais des Festivals in Cannes has a capacity of 2,300.

Earlier this week, The One Club announced that events for this year’s Creativity Week – including The One Show and ADC Awards – would move to an online-only format. The announcement specifically called out the for-profit Cannes Lions, saying that with The One Club being a not-for-profit, it was not financially dependent on any one event and could put “people’s health and safety” before the importance of awards.

Also announced on Wednesday was the cancellation of BrandSpark’s annual gala for its Best New Product and Most Trusted awards. While the company says cancelling the event is in the best interest to protect the health and safety of its partners in the marketing community, it is currently looking for opportunities to host smaller gatherings, such as dinners and seminars.