UK direct marketing agencies will once again have to drown their sorrows with Domaine D’Ott and make do with a suntan, as they have little else to show for the thousands of pounds they have shelled out on award entries – let alone flights and hotels – at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Even the UK entry into the Eurovision Song Contest did better than British agencies in the Creative Data category, who have managed to achieve a rather embarrassing “nul points”.
The Direct Lions has seen a slight improvement; McCann London has scooped two bronze Lions with work for Vice UK on suicide prevention and for the Miscarriage Association (which was actually MRM McCann’s work).
At the time of writing, we are still awaiting the results of the Brand Experience & Activation Lions, so it might not be all doom and gloom.
However, you have to go back to 2015 to find a UK agency which picked up the top prize in any of the three categories.
Grey London came out on top of the Brand Activation awards (then called Promo & Activation) three years ago for Volvo’s Lifepaint campaign. However, the activity was subsequently discredited after being banned by the Advertising Standards Authority.
One industry insider – an non-Cannes attendee – said: “From where I am looking, 860 miles away, the awards are not much more than a sideshow at Cannes for UK agencies. The conference appears to have taken over, which ultimately could be a good thing, as long as they keep it relevant rather than annoying sales pitches. However, it does make you wonder whether it’s worth British agencies going mob-handed. Maybe in the future, we will see just one or two senior people from each agency, rather than attending en masse. Then again, you have to wonder, if it was being held in Birmingham, would anyone go at all?”
Update: UK agencies picked up two golds in the Brand Experience & Activation category, with FCB Inferno winning for Huawei and Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO for Guinness; the grand prix, however, remains as elusive as ever for the Brits.
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