Cannes Lions 2025 to have new ‘Alt Text’ award after RNIB, Mullenlowe UK call

Photography by Chris Cooper, ShotAway

During this year’s Cannes Lions, the industry will be celebrating the power of imagery and words, yet in many cases it excludes blind and partially sighted people by omitting Alternative Text (Alt Text) and image descriptions, which are relied on by the two million people in the UK living with sight loss to understand, engage and enjoy the images.

This year’s Cannes Lions has announced a new Craft subcategory for 2025, which will celebrate the best use of image descriptions in entries.

RNIB Cannes Lions, MullenLowe UK – Alt Text campaign 

To highlight this challenge and call attention to the millions of images the industry puts out into the world every single year, Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and MullenLowe UK have produced a campaign, which has been running on the iconic screen above the red carpet at the Palais, where image description creative excellence is celebrated each day of the Festival and awarded every night.

Each day the iconic screen will display image descriptions describing some of the most famous Cannes Lions winners over the years.

To see this in action and find out more information, head to the Palais screen from 8am-9am and 6pm-6:20pm every day.

Wednesday, RNIB and MullenLowe UK announced a partnership with Cannes Lions to introduce new subcategories across the Lions within the Classic Track – Audio & Radio, Film, Outdoor and Print & Publishing – to further support Cannes Lions’ Equity, Representation and Accessibility goals.

Simon Cook, CEO, LIONS, said: “For 70 years the Lions have celebrated world-class craft and it’s still as vital as ever. This new category will encourage the industry to write the image descriptions that blind and partially sighted people deserve.

“We’re constantly looking for ways to evolve the Lions to reflect the industry as it is today but also to show what’s coming next.

“These categories will further support our Equity, Representation and Accessibility goals.”

Martin Wingfield, RNIB’s Director of Brand said: “This industry is incredible and has such power to make a massive difference to blind and partially sighted people.

“2.2 billion people with sight loss globally is also a huge and valuable audience that are being excluded from your work and from your brands. Please make it a first thought, not an afterthought.”

Nicky Bullard, Chief Creative Officer, MullenLowe UK said: “We’ve such a chance as an industry to make the difference to many people’s lives.

“Let’s help as many people as we can see, enjoy, and engage with our brilliant work, like the work we are celebrating this week. Let’s write the image descriptions blind and partially sighted people deserve.”