PR industry on verge of major breakthrough at Cannes this year

After years of frustration, PR is set for a new beginning at Cannes.

The communications sector has beaten itself up about Cannes ever since the PR Lions were introduced to the Festival of Creativity in 2009.

Plunged into a competition against glossy and confident siblings in the advertising, creative, and media sectors, PR struggled to make its mark — and even last year there was still much weeping and gnashing of teeth about underrepresentation of PR firms in the Lions category that has their nomenclature attached.

As the week wore on, culminating in Edelman taking the Titanium Grand Prix and Gold Lion in Integrated for its work on REI’s #OptOutside campaign, PR agencies assuaged their anger by consoling themselves their discipline was invading other territories to counterbalance incursions on their borders.

Our second Brand Film Festival showed modern comms ideas are discipline-neutral and everybody must adapt to this new reality, but it’s always nice to see "our" sector thriving. As the PR Lions approach a decade of existence, we are on the cusp of a breakthrough, not least via the efforts of this year’s jury president Karen van Bergen, former president Renee Wilson, and Ketchum’s global awards director Betsy Quinn.

You can hear from these three campaigners in this month’s issue about the lobbying behind the scenes that resulted in a much more credible definition of public relations to steer the jury, the drive to ensure PR firms are always credited for the work they do, and top tips about taking on the better-resourced creative firms in the entry process.

Here’s to a great week on La Croisette — see what PRWeek is doing at www.haymarketatcannes.com.

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