Entries to Cannes PR Lions hold up despite big drop in overall submissions

The number of entries to the PR Lions category at Cannes fell just 3.6 per cent this year compared to 2017, despite overall entry numbers falling by 21.4 per cent.

Meanwhile, new data shows entries from the UK grew slightly this year, although submissions from the US were down significantly.

It was revealed on Friday that the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, which begins on Monday (18 June) and lasts until 22 June, received 32,372 entries into this year’s awards, down from 41,170 entries in 2017. Event owner Ascential ascribed this partly to Publicis Groupe's temporary withdrawal and partly to their decision to restructure the awards programme.

A more detailed breakdown of the figures shows there were 2,035 entrants for the PR Lions this year, versus 2,111 in 2017.

Across all categories, there were 2,542 entries from the UK, up from 2,462 last year. From the US, entries fell from 8,291 in 2017 to 7,344 this year.

PR agencies improved their haul in the PR Lions last year after changes in the rules meant any party with a credit on a winning entry would be a Lion winner. However, agencies from sister marcoms disciplines still easily outperformed PR shops – a situation that has existed since the PR Lions debuted nine years ago.

The key changes to Cannes Lions this year will include:

• The event will be reduced to five days
• A new awards architecture will see categories assigned to new "tracks", including Reach, Communications, Craft, Experience, Innovation, Impact and Good. PR will be included in ‘Reach’, with the winners announced on Thursday rather than the usual Tuesday
• The number of subcategories has been reduced by 120
• Each piece of work can only be entered into a maximum of six Lions
• A revised points system aims to reward creativity, with larger rewards for winning the Creative Effectiveness and Titanium Grand Prix
• Charity and NGO work will be separated from brand-led communication over a two-year "transitional" period

Read more: Return to form or a damp squib? UK PR chiefs look ahead to Cannes Lions 2018

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