Courage is beautiful - Amanda

WPP wins Holding Company of the Festival: Cannes Lions 2021 Decoded

Ogilvy's eight Grands Prix helped the company take the top honour

By Creative Salon

WPP has won the Holding Company of the Year award at Cannes Lions 2021.

WPP agencies collected a total of 190 Lions, including a Titanium Lion, 12 Grand Prix, 28 Gold, 57 Silver and 92 Bronze, with winners representing 38 different countries.  

The award is based on the accumulated points total from agencies within each holding company. It is the first time that WPP has won the Holding Company of the Year award since 2017, and WPP said the win reflected its investment in creative talent as part of its strategy for growth. 

Ogilvy won eight Grands Prix and a Titanium Lion for work including Stevenage Challenge (by DAVID) and Moldy Whopper (by DAVID and INGO) for Burger King; Courage is Beautiful for Dove by Ogilvy London and Ogilvy Toronto; and Naming the Invisible by Digital Birth Registration for Telenor Pakistan. 

AKQA’s H&M Looop, a pioneering in-store recycling system designed to inspire a more sustainable approach to clothing among consumers, picked up a Grand Prix for Design, as did Superunion’s stunning work for sustainable packaging brand Notpla.

VMLY&R’s I Am for Starbucks, which created a safe space for trans people in Brazil to have their names legally changed, was awarded the Glass Lion for Change. Degree Inclusive by Wunderman Thompson for Unilever, the adaptive deodorant for people with upper limb disabilities or visual impairment, was an Innovation Grand Prix winner. 

Mark Read, CEO of WPP, said: “A huge thank you to all our amazing people, agencies and clients, who are the ones who earned this accolade. 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 organisation, 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.” 

Rob Reilly, Global Chief Creative Officer of WPP, 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. Winning most creative company of the year is a culmination of so many hours of tireless work from over 100,000 WPP people, fearless brand marketers and brilliant production partners. I am so proud to be a part of an industry that stepped up when the world needed creativity the most and the company that led the way.”


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