AMV BBDO wins top global agency, WPP top holding company at Cannes Lions 2021

AMV BBDO picked up five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions.
AMV BBDO picked up five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was the most awarded advertising agency and WPP the most awarded holding company at Cannes Lions 2021. 

London-based agency AMV BBDO picked up the prize for global agency of the festival, thanks to a haul of five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions.

Four of the Grands Prix were for AMV BBDO's #Wombstories campaign for Bodyform/Libresse that won the top prizes in Film, Film Craft, Titanium and Health & Wellness.

The agency also won the Lions Health United Nations Foundation Grand Prix for Good for The Central Office of Public Interest’s campaign.

Alex Grieve, chief creative officer of AMV BBDO, said: “Being named Agency of the Festival is an incredible honor and doing so with some of our most brilliant work to date, across various clients, makes it even sweeter. Particularly with #Wombstories, we’ve been fortunate to have a fearless client in Essity who are attuned to the power of creativity and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. It’s been thrilling pushing the creative boundaries with them year-over-year.”

The agency of the festival accolade is a boost to AMV BBDO, whose chief executive, Sarah Douglas, departed after two and a half years in charge in May. Campaign revealed earlier this week the agency has recruited Sam Hawkey, chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi London, to replace her.

David Lubars, chairman and chief creative Officer of BBDO Worldwide, said: “We believe creativity is an economic multiplier. We believe creativity is the number one driver of effectiveness. Therefore, winning the way we have at Cannes, the premiere festival of creativity, is meaningful. It’s especially rewarding to win across a depth and breadth of Lion categories.”

Edelman won independent agency of the year in the Entertainment track, an award calculated by the accumulation of points within the track.

U.K.-based agencies have performed strongly at this year’s Cannes Lions, which was held remotely and combined work from 2020 and 2021 because of the hiatus last year during the worst of the pandemic.

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year for the first time since 2017, after Omnicom won it in 2018 and 2019 (and there was no festival in 2020).

WPP agencies, led by Ogilvy, collected a total of 190 Lions, including a Titanium Lion, 12 Grands Prix, 28 gold, 57 silver and 92 bronze, with winners representing 38 different countries.  

Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, who took charge in September 2018, said: “What so many of the winners at this year’s Cannes had in common was a commitment to harnessing the power of creativity to bring about change for the better in the world. My ambition for WPP is that we are known as the world’s most creative organization, and one that uses its creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. Becoming the most creative company in our industry is a good place to start.”

WPP spent much of the past 12 months without a global chief creative officer, after the departure of John O’Keeffe in April 2020, but Read recruited Rob Reilly from McCann Worldgroup, who started in May.

Reilly said: “The past 18 months have been the most challenging of our lives. But we will look back on them as the time when creativity shined the brightest.”

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