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21% fall in Cannes Lions entries due to festival overhaul and Publicis pause

16-June-2018
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21% fall in Cannes Lions entries due to festival overhaul and Publicis pause

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity has confirmed that a total of 32,372 entries have been received into this year’s awards. Entries have come from 90 countries and have been made into 26 Lions. Early analysis of the numbers provides revealing insights to the creative communications industry, particularly around client engagement with the awards.

Philip Thomas, CEO, Ascential Events and Chairman-elect, Cannes Lions, commented, “Last year we made the decision to press the reset button on Cannes Lions. We closed three big Lion awards, and removed and combined many sub-categories. We did it knowing that this would mean a smaller volume of entries, but it was the right decision for the long term.”

2018 has seen the closure of three Lions – Cyber, Integrated and Promo & Activation – and this change, and the removal of more than 120 sub-categories from across the Lions is calculated to have impacted numbers by 13%.

Commenting on the effect of Publicis Groupe’s one year pause from the Festival, Thomas added, “As we have seen, many clients have entered Publicis campaigns into the Festival this year to support their partnership and the work they do together. This shows how passionately they feel about the importance of creativity in their business. But obviously there has been an impact from Publicis’ temporary decision to step back, and we calculate that impact to account for an 8% drop in the Festival’s entry numbers.”.”

The 2018 entry numbers have also shown a shift in the type of companies entering the awards with the number of brands entering work increasing by 84% over last year. Jose Papa, Managing Director, Cannes Lions, commented that “this was confirmation of marketing leaders’ increased understanding of the value that creativity has on business and ROI.” Another notable change includes an increase in media owners entering work, up 59% on 2017.

To reflect the modern creative marketing challenges that face the industry, two new Lions - Creative eCommerce and The Sustainable Development Goals - were added for 2018 and together have generated 1,166 entries. Additionally, three reimagined Lions - Social & Influencer (some categories retained from the Cyber Lions), Industry Craft (some categories retained from Outdoor, Design and Print & Publishing), and Brand Experience & Activation (some categories retained from Promo & Activation) – have been launched, generating a further 6,082 entries.

Papa added, “In its launch year, we’ve seen an incredible uptake of the Sustainable Development Goals Lions with 898 entries, while Glass: The Lion for Change, now in its fourth year is also up on entries at 218. It’s indicative of an industry that is focusing on using creativity as a driving force for good, and I’m proud to say that we donate the revenue from these Lions back to relevant charities.”

Other trends showing in the entry numbers include an industry-wide, sustained investment in creative effectiveness with entries into The Creative Effectiveness Lion – the only global award that recognises the compelling link between award winning creativity and business driving results – remaining strong in 2018. Craft is also proving to remain crucial for the industry with entries into the Film Craft Lion up year-on-year to 2,519 and a strong first year for the Industry Craft Lion with 1,720 entries.

Global juries are currently convening in Cannes to judge and award creative excellence from across the world. The winners of the Lions will be announced at award shows throughout the Festival from 18-22 June.

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