Cannes Lions PR shortlist tells a familiar tale

If the PR shortlist is any indication of overall trends, PR firms once again struggled to compete with their advertising colleagues when it comes to recognition at this virtual renewal of the Festival of Creativity.

Cannes Lions PR shortlist tells a familiar tale

The Cannes International Festival of Creativity is back after a two-year hiatus, albeit in virtual form.

The PR Lions shortlist was unveiled this morning and the winners will be announced around 8:30am Tuesday morning ET.

This year’s PR Lions span two years of work and attracted 1,725 entries: 501 from the U.S., 129 from the U.K., 83 from Brazil, 79 from Japan, 71 from France, and 63 from Germany.

Just under 10% of those entries made the shortlist – 165 – and on first glance I suspect the debate about advertising and creative agencies dominating the PR Lions category is about to be ignited for the umpteenth time.

In terms of the prestigious idea creation credits, I could see just 16 attributed to PR firms – again, just under 10%.

Edelman was shortlisted for idea creation five times, three for #BuyBackFriday for Ikea out of its London office and twice for A New Jingle for a New Era for Unilever’s Good Humor ice-cream brand out of New York (.

Weber Shandwick got two shortlist big idea credits, The Climate Store pop-up grocery store for Felix (PRWeek Global Awards 2021 Campaign of the Year) out of its Stockholm office and The Last Blockbuster for Airbnb out of the IPG firm’s San Francisco operation.

BCW Stockholm was shortlisted twice under the idea credit for Beach Mode on behalf of Trygg-Hansa Insurance.

Herd MSL Sydney, MDC’s Swedish subsidiary Forsman & Bodenfors, LLYC Madrid and IPG Dxtra’s Current Global also got idea creation edits, but as far as I could see that was it for the PR community. If I missed anyone I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Even in the PR credit column, only 50 of the 165 shortlisted were attributed to PR agencies, with Weber Shadnwick garnering 11 shortlist credits (including its 3PM ABInBev division) and Edelman receiving 10. IPG’s Current also received three PR credits, as did BCW, Allison & Partners and Herd MSL.

Alison Brod Marketing & Communications and Dini von Mueffling Communications continued their good records at Cannes in terms of garnering two PR credits each. Again, please let me know if I missed anyone.

Golin was credited for PR duties on Crayola’s Colors of the World activation, which won the IPG agency honors PRWeek’s Global and US Awards, but at Cannes the idea creation credit went to Dentsu McGarryBowen.

It’s too early to call out solid trends and, honestly, it’s the Lions winners that really matter, not the shortlists. But the work selected seems to point to the significant investments starting to pay off that both Edelman and Weber have made in their creative chops and going head to head with the ad firms.

All will be revealed at 8:30am on Tuesday.

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