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Cannes Takeaways: Adscam’s George Parker on why cash is king

So Cannes has come and gone for yet another year. The vomit-stained yachts have been scrubbed, the Mimosa glasses have been rinsed and the hookers on the Croisette have gone back to wherever they came from. Meantime, the Lion winners are polishing their trophies before putting them on display in their reception areas where non-winning clients will ask “Wasn’t the work you did for me good enough to win?” Actually, there are now enough categories for almost everyone to win some kind of tchotchke.

There are over thirty different categories with gold, silver and bronze lions in each. (My favorite is the oxymoronic titled “Creative Data.” When I won my first Lion there were four categories. Print, TV, Radio, Outdoor. Easy, right? There are now also numerous special awards, and something called the “Grand Prix for Good.” Whatever the hell that means.

Then there are the fees. If you enter early, they start at 650 Euros and go up to 2225 Euros. If you wait ’til the last minute they start at 1075 Euros and go up to 2680 Euros. If you translate that into dollars you get a median cost of $1,330 per entry.

Let’s take 2023’s total of 27,000 entries. That’s $35.9 million bloody dollars…And that’s probably a low figure. Consider how much money the BDHC’s (Big Dumb Holding Companies) and their constituent BDA’s (Big Dumb Agencies) have blown on this five day “Festival.”

In particular, WPP won the Creative Company of the Year Award. Omnicom ranked second and Interpublic was third. In total WPP won 160 Lions including 6 Grand Prix, 27 Gold, 43 Silver and 83 Bronze. Based on my pathetic arithmetic that means they cost 213 thousand dollars. And let us not forget the entry fees for the ones that didn’t win. You’ve got to be looking at well over a million dollars.

Think how far that would go on the Croisette.

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