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U.S. Wins Only 1 Cannes Lions Direct

The United States earned the dubious distinction of submitting among the highest number of direct marketing entries for the Cannes Lions ad festival and winning among the fewest.

Minneapolis agency Fallon's BMW Films entry for client BMW of North America won a silver Lions Direct. That was the extent of the U.S. winnings last night at the awards in Cannes, France.

U.S. shops big and small this year entered 117 DM campaigns out of 2,383 multi-category advertising submissions for the world's most prestigious ad festival held annually in Cannes. Fifty-nine Lions Direct awards were given out.

The U.S. Lions Direct showing could not have contrasted more with the country's performance a day before in the Cyber Lions awards. U.S. agencies topped with 10 Cyber Lions, including a gold and four silver awards for excellence only in interactive and online advertising.

Even more galling, the United States was in the ranks yesterday with South Africa, Denmark, Belgium, Switzerland, New Zealand, Norway, France and the Philippines — all winners of one Lions Direct each. None of them won a gold Lions Direct, taking home silver and bronze prizes.

However, the results from Cannes Lions are in step with other international DM awards, indicating the creative state of U.S. direct marketing is falling behind its European counterparts.

The British delegation had every reason to be proud. British entries topped with 13 Lions Direct — five gold, three silver and five bronze. Britain entered 209 direct marketing campaigns out of 1,466 multi-category submissions.

Spanish agencies took home the next biggest haul: four gold, one silver and four bronze Lions Direct. Close behind were the Austrian and German entries, at eight and seven awards, respectively.

Australia won three Lions Direct, including the most prestigious grand prix. Young & Rubicam, Sydney, bagged that top honor for client Jim Beam Brands Australia's Jim Beam Bourbon. M&C Saatchi's Melbourne and Sydney offices also won a gold and silver Lions Direct, respectively.

Even India won two gold Lions Direct awards — one by Ogilvy & Mather New Delhi for BusinessWorld magazine and the other by OgilvyOne Worldwide Madras for Hutchison Telecom. The Netherlands took home two, as did tiny Singapore.

Normally a big winner at Cannes Lions, Brazil won only four Lions Direct awards. Entries across all categories were down this year because of a weak real, Brazil's currency.

All told, one grand prix, 17 gold, 16 silver and 25 bronze Lions Direct were awarded last night at the 50th International Advertising Festival, the formal name for the Cannes Lions.

If it is any consolation, U.S.-owned or affiliated agencies accounted for 20 of the winners. Among them were brands like Wunderman, Young & Rubicam, OgilvyOne Worldwide, Ogilvy & Mather, MRM Partners and Foote, Cone & Belding, Fallon and McCann-Erickson.

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