Cannes Lions: the old lady of La Croisette seems to have had a new blood transfusion this year

The Cannes Lions are the gift that keeps on giving, for owner Ascential at least.

After a couple of years when entries have been under pressure from the big ad holding companies cutting back – most notably Publicis Groupe last year to put money into A1 tool Marcel (where is Marcel by the way?) – entries this year are up to nearly 31,000 with India and China becoming bigger players (up eight per cent and five per cent respectively.)

Creative Effectiveness entries are up 34 per cent – which means burning a lot of midnight oil from some poor souls – while the Blue Riband, still Film Lions, are up 29 per cent.

Cannes Lions MD Simon Cook says: “The definition of creativity is evolving alongside the industry. The reframing of the awards in 2018 resulted in distinct, discipline-specific pieces of work winning Lions in their respective tracks. We saw the highest standard of creative work emerging across the full spectrum of creative disciplines from a diverse mix of approaches, people and perspectives.

“As the industry continues to shift, we look forward to seeing how these emerging creative disciplines and specialisms create new impact for clients.”

The industry has indeed shifted and the biggest presences at Cannes this next (it starts in earnest on Monday for a week) will be ad tech companies (probably a different lot to last year), tech-based media owners and the big consultancies.

The biggest draw, though, may be The Drum Arms at which the UK-based magazine is hosting Accenture Interactive boss Brian Whipple and, yes you guessed right, S4 Capital’s Sir Martin Sorrell. WPP’s Mark Read and Sorrell might have been been an bigger draw but no doubt they’ll be studiously avoiding each other.

Most of our tipsters expect Nike’s Colin Kaepernick opus from Wieden+Kennedy to win big with lots of votes for AMV BBDO’s ‘Viva La Vulva’ for Libresse too. If this doesn’t win there’ll be ructions in this MeToo era.

Last year’s Agency of the Year was adam&eveDDB which scored consistently for a range of campaigns. This year’s a hard one to judge and we may see the usual suspects missing out to, maybe, France or even Germany. BETC Paris consistently hits the right notes although it’s current Lacoste blockbuster film won’t be eligible until next year. W+K is probably the strongest contender from the US, followed by Droga5, now part of the Accenture Interactive stable.

Cannes may be a ridiculous jamboree in many ways but it’s good to see a Festival of Creativity still high on the marketing agenda.

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About Stephen Foster

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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.