PR firms were largely overshadowed in the PR category at this year’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
Some agency leaders took it better than others. Weber Shandwick’s Andy Polansky, whose firm was the most recognized PR agency at the festival, was more optimistic than most.
"It’s always terrific to see the work from across the industry. We feel like we’re upping our game creatively, and I’m really optimistic that as an industry we’ll continue to do well here over time," he said. "I’m always respectful of great work from all over the world, so you won’t hear sour grapes from me."
Communications firms took home just four of the 84 PR Lions awarded last month in the South of France, with Swedish creative agency Forsman & Bodenfors winning the Grand Prix for its work on behalf of organic retailer Coop. Jurors said many of the PR entries missed the mark by not showing how their work on topical or important issues related to the bottom line.
"I’m really, really disappointed, and I find it hard to reconcile this with last year’s results," said Omnicom Public Relations Group CEO Karen van Bergen. "I think I’m just not seeing the work I saw last year."
Ogilvy Public Relations global CEO Stuart Smith said that counting the chips isn’t the real point of Cannes.
"This is all about creativity. This should not be all about what the PR industry thinks about the PR category; this should be a celebration of creativity," he said. "The highlight for this year is that PR has finally decided to get out of its box and compete with others on their own territory. This has been one of my soapbox issues for a while, which is why is PR only entering the PR category?"