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Cannes replaces Media Agency of the Year with Media Network, introduces regional awards

Cannes Lions logoAdvertising festival Cannes Lions is launching an award for agency networks by region, including an Asia Pacific network of the year award.

The festival is also scrapping its Media Agency of the Year award, and replacing it with a Media Network of the Year gong. The switch comes the year after OMD Sydney won Media Agency of the Year despite all its entries being submitted by sister-Omnicom agency DDB.

Cannes Lions said in a statement: “Only media agencies are eligible to compete in this award, which will be based on a points system. Advertising agencies credited on shortlisted and winning campaigns in Media Lions will see their points included in the Agency of the Year and Independent Agency of the Year calculation.”

Independent media agencies will now compete in the Independent Agency of the Year category.

There has been considerable tinkering with Cannes’ media category after a row broke out after last year’s event between Omnicom and WPP. Omnicom Media Group boss Mainardo de Nardis accused WPP rival GroupM of fudging the numbers in a press release that declared it was the most awarded media entity. The festival organiser has since changed its awards tally system.

Terry Savage, chairman of Lions Festivals, said in a press release: “As is our usual process when introducing changes at Cannes Lions, we consult extensively with industry leaders to ensure that we continue to be relevant and reflect the changes that are happening in the business around the world. These adjustments to the calculations of the Special Awards are no exception, and as such we are delighted to have the support and endorsement of the key players.”

The festival has also changed its system for calculating the top production company of the year, known as the Palm d’Or. The new points system, which the festival says in now in line with its other awards is to run as follows:

• Production companies no longer have to have at least 10 entries in the qualifying categories –  Film, Film Craft and Branded Content & Entertainment – to be eligible for the Palme d’Or.
• The Palme d’Or will now consider all shortlisted and winning entries from a Production Company.  In previous years, only the best 10 entries from each production company were considered.
• Shortlisted points will now be capped at 10 points, which is in line with the existing Agency of the Year rules.

This year, Cannes Lions has introduced a new healthcare event, split its digital category into three and launched a product design category.

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