Cannes organisers hope second PR Lions awards will attract more agencies than in 2009

The 57th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival is making a fresh attempt to appeal to the PR industry after a disappointing turnout for the inaugural PR Lions last year.

Prestigious: Cannes wants to appeal to the PR industry
Prestigious: Cannes wants to appeal to the PR industry

The organisers received just under 500 entries for the PR category last year, but the festival's CEO Philip Thomas is hoping more agencies will support the awards in its second year.

The PR Lions entry rate is higher than at the same point last year, said Thomas. He also revealed that Weber Shandwick CEO UK & Europe Colin Byrne and Resonate MD Michael Frohlich are the two UK judges signed for the PR Lions Jury.

Hill & Knowlton's global chairman and CEO Paul Taaffe will be the jury president, taking the role over from Chime Communications chairman Tim Bell, who oversaw the judging in 2009.

Last year's PR awards have received criticism for being too advertising-centric.

Of the 17 Lions handed out at last year's awards, nine were given to advertising agencies that had entered PR campaigns.

The global awards also saw little recognition for UK agencies last year. The UK won only two PR Lions in 2009 out of 56 entries.

The winners were Spor-tech's 'Beautiful Game' campaign by Resonate and Bpex's 'Pigs are Worth it' campaign, driven jointly by Weber Shandwick, Good Relations, HD Communications and DDB.

Thomas said: 'Last year, agencies probably decided to see how the first year worked and are giving it a try this year. This is a totally global award.

It is incredibly hard to win a Lion as it is very competitive. Agencies can be scared.'

He also defended the cost of entries, which at £340 has been criticised by some agencies as too high.

Attending the full week of events will set delegates back £1,800.

Thomas said: 'The fee is for seven days, which includes four awards, 52 seminars, 25 workshops and two galas. I think that's good value for money.'

Deadlines for entries have been extended to 26 March. Entries could still be received after this date if agencies contact the organisers.

The festival is taking place from 20 to 26 June, with the PR awards ceremony taking place on 21 June.


- Paul Taaffe, CEO Hill & Knowlton and PR Lions Jury president

Last year we were newbies, and so two thirds of PR Lions submissions worldwide came from ad agencies, which have been playing the Cannes game for much longer - and I am optimistic of a better turnout from our colleagues this year.

- Michael Frohlich, MD, Resonate and PR Lions Jury judge

I have no doubt many ad agencies will enter the category, but, unlike last year, I'm hopeful many more PR agencies will enter. There is a growing interest in the PR category. Lots more PR people are planning their trip to Cannes as it's a unique networking opportunity.

£340 - Entry fee for PR category for this year's awards

500 - Number of PR entries for last year's awards

57 - Number of years the festival has been running

52 - Number of seminars running throughout the week

Source: Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival.

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