Cannes by Numbers

What can I say, the Cannes Lions festival is in full swing. At the time of writing there has already been some great news for OMD UK, winning 2 Cannes Silver Lions for Channel 4’s Paralympics campaign. Therefore, it seemed a good opportunity to explore some of the articles that have been written about the Cannes Festival this year, and (in typical Investment style) the numbers behind the festival.

Firstly, overall numbers at the festival are a record 15,000 attendees, stemming from approximately 100 countries. This fact alone is in contrast to the reports of alleged decreased amounts of marketers attending, with the world’s largest News website, the Daily Mail deciding not to attend in great numbers this year. Other companies and agencies such as Unilever and WPP are also known to have scaled back their presence.

Advertising spend globally is on the rise…

Despite the above companies reducing their attendance, the festival continues to remain strong in other areas, and will likely remain so. According to e-Marketer Paid Media advertising outlays worldwide will increase 7.3% in 2017 to $583.91 billion. With this level of growth (which is in line with forecasts), the need to learn to solve business problems creatively, and to cut through the competition, is greater than ever.

Overall award entries have dropped slightly (4.5%) from 2016, with (a still jaw-dropping) 41,170 this year, compared to 43,101 last year. But it’s worth noting that 2016 was a record year in terms of ad entries and included such key cultural events as an Olympic Games, European Championship, and a Presidential Election.

One key outtake from the festival so far is that the ad industry is facing tougher times because of a series of challenges, including clients wanting more tangible results, ad-blockers, ad fraud, and perhaps the biggest concern of all, brand-safe environments.

Record number of female judges

Away from these issues, this year’s festival includes some brilliant steps forward in equality and diversity. 390 people from 50 countries across all juries have been confirmed and most impressively, 43% of jurors are female in 2017, a record for the festival. In fact, in the last five years the overall number of women on the judging panels has doubled, from 21% in 2012. This is a positive step forward for the industry, and comes at an apt time, with U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in attendance to give a talk on the power of advertising to promote social change (a programme in which Omnicom, by the way, takes an active part).

To conclude, whilst Cannes may feel slightly dampened this year amongst an ad industry that’s facing challenges and disruption, it still provides a brilliant opportunity for us to inspire others and be inspired ourselves to produce even more outstanding and effective campaigns for our clients.


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