DDB harvests 79 Lions despite vote rigging claims

We’re not going to list the number of Lions every agency or agency group won at Cannes (you’ll be relieved to know) but it is interesting that DDB Worldwide, the third best-performing network at the festival after Ogilvy and BBDO, harvested 79.

Why? Because worldwide CCO Amir Kassaei (left) has been moaning loudly about alleged vote rigging by rivals and even threatening to boycott the festival next year. How many might the agency have won in a ‘fair’ fight?

DDB’s Lions were won across numerous industries and brands, including McDonald’s, Volkswagen, Harvey Nichols, C&A, Henkel, State Farm, Swedish Armed Forces, Tourism Australia, and Lion Nathan, as well as other local brands throughout Europe, Asia Pacific, Middle East and Africa, North and South America.

In more diplomatic mode Kassaei says: “To have 46 offices win Lions or be shortlisted is a massive achievement for us as a worldwide network. Each and every one of our regions contributed to our haul, clearly demonstrating the power of DDB’s creativity across the entire globe.”

So is everything fine then? The root cause of the problem is Cannes’ two years old Holding Company of the Year award, which has been won on both occasions by DDB owner Omnicom’s biggest rival WPP. Among other things, this has upset the applecart as far as Omnicom is concerned by deflecting attention from the customary strong performance of its agency networks BBDO, DDB and TBWA.

WPP’s Ogilvy won this year anyway, of course, but maybe Kassaei thinks it benefited from what we might politely call tactical voting.

Who’ll want to be a juror at Cannes next year? At this rate they’ll all be taking lie detector tests.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.


  1. Avatar

    Hi Stephen, all of the quotes in your story from Amir have been directly lifted from an interview I had with him. Is it too old fashioned to expect original copy and quotes to be credited back to source nowdays?


  2. Avatar

    Sorry Arif, thought we’d credited you

    Good story