Grand Prix Trophy

The Address: UK eyes on the big prize

With 11 Grands Prix under its belt, the UK ad industry should be proud of its performance, and look forward with optimism

By Jeremy Lee

If the number of UK entries – and the subsequent number of Lions won – at Cannes this year is anything to go by, then the industry is, and can be, proud of its world leading position. Only the US was more awarded, although it had more than four times more entries so on an entry to win ratio the UK came out top.

Special mention should go to Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO, which was named Agency of the Year, having won the same accolade at The One Show and D&AD. With five Grands Prix, its work for Essity’s ‘#wombstories’ has been given the global recognition that it deserves. AMV also won more Lions in the Craft categories than any others, putting pay to suggestions that its campaign was just part of an ephemeral zeitgeist.

Ogilvy UK also picked up a brace of Grands Prix for its ‘Courage is beauty’ for Dove. Again, like ‘#wombstories’ this execution is part of a relatively long-running campaign and shows the benefits of creatively effective long-term brand building over short-term stunts to which some sectors of the industry have become transfixed.

With a total of 135 Lions awarded – including the 11 Grands Prix (FCB Inferno, TBWA/London, Superunion and Edelman picked up one apiece) across 46 agencies and marcomms companies, the UK has cemented itself as the hub of European creativity. Incidentally this is 11 more Grands Prix than the UK won in 2019.

Given that the export of advertising and marketing services grew by seven percent to £11 billion in 2019 (the last year the ONS has figures for) it’s little wonder then that the government is keen to capitalise on the UK’s Cannes success and sell British creativity on the global stage. It, along with the UK Advertising Export Group, has launched UK House – an online networking event to showcase British commercial creativity. as well as virtual global trade missions.

With the Advertising Association/Warc predicting that 2022 will see UK ad spend reach a record £27 billion – more than making up for the pandemic-related decline of 2019 – we can look forward with some much-needed optimism. And this is also, in part, thanks to all UK Cannes Lions winners, which, as well as AMV (5 Grands Prix, 5 Golds, 8 Silvers, 8 Bronzes) and Ogilvy (2 Grands Prix, 3 Golds, 5 Silvers, 1 Bronze), also includes other Creative Salon members: McCann London (3 Golds, 2 Silvers, 6 Bronzes); Wunderman Thompson (3 Golds, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze); The Gate (1 Gold, 3 Silvers, 1 Bronze); VCCP (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze); Leo Burnett (1 Gold, 1 Silver, 1 Bronze),; Havas London (1 Gold, 2 Bronzes); Adam&EveDDB (1 Silver, 3 Bronzes), BBH London (1 Silver); Droga5 London (3 Bronzes); Publicis.Poke (1 Bronze); Saatchi & Saatchi (1 Bronze); Lucky Generals (1 Bronze) and Engine (1 Bronze). Congratulations to all.

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