Apple's advertising looks likely to win awards this year at the 51st International Advertising Festival in Cannes.

The festival claims to be the world's largest gathering of marketing and advertising professionals, attracting around 8,000 delegates each year. Over 16,000 ads from across the world are showcased at the event, which also offers seminars from industry leaders.

Awards (the so-called Cannes Lions Awards) are given to recognize the most creative TV/cinema, print, outdoor, online and media and marketing pitches.

Apple is up for nomination in at least three of a huge number of categories. Its billboard advertising announcing the launch of its Apple Retail outlet in Japan's Ginza shopping district has been nominated.

Also nominated in the automotive category is Apple's joint ad promotion with Volkswagen in the US, in which the two companies extolled the virtues of an iPod-enabled Volkswagen Beetle. Apple's media marketing for its iPod, and its bilboard ads for that product have also been nominated.

AdAge's Bob Garfield is already predicting Apple's advertising agency TBWA/Chiat Day will walk away with the industry's highest accolade this year, the Lions Grand Prix (Gold) award.

In a feature predicting winners this year, he writes: "Our best guess for the Grand Prix, though, is for Apple iPod (TBWA). The colourful 'Hip Hop silhouettes are not only striking, they're a rare example of advertising-as-USP, in which the Day-Glo images are synonymous with the unique product they represent. It's a towering achievement in art direction. So you can stand up now and applaud."