Cannes Lions entry numbers fall after Publicis boycott

The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity received 32,372 award entries this year, with the awards program down 8,798 entries compared to last year’s 41,170.

Philip Thomas, CEO of Ascential Events and chairman-elect of Cannes Lions, said the drop in entries could be attributed to the closure of three of its award categories and the decision Publicis Groupe made to pull out of all awards shows in 2018.

“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,” Thomas said in a statement.

The chairman said the closure of its Cyber, Integrated and Promo and Activation categories impacted its 2018 award entry numbers by 13%.

Thomas said the closure of these categories were obviously going to affect the number of award entries but it was the right decision to make.

“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.”

Although three award categories closed, Cannes Lions introduced two new Lions – Creative eCommerce and The Sustainable Development Goals – and three reimagined Lions – Social & Influencer, Industry Craft and Brand Experience and Activation – which generated 6,082 entries.

Jose Papa, managing director of Cannes Lions, 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.”


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