Canada’s 904 chances at a Cannes Lion

The Message from Cannes Lions 2019, brought to you by…

This is year two of the resized, refocused Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. The Festival grew significantly year after year following the recessionary downturn in 2009 and 2010, but in 2017 industry angst about it becoming too big and unwieldy reached a climax—with Publicis announcing it would avoid Cannes altogether the following year. Officially the reason was a desire to focus on its own network-wide restructuring (and Marcel) but the larger message was clear: Cannes needed to change.

By the end of the year, Festival organizers had responded with a significant overhaul for 2018. The formal agenda, which had expanded to eight days, was scaled back to just five, awards categories were streamlined and entries were capped on each piece of work submitted.

The result is clear in the before-and-after entry totals announced Friday, although interestingly Canadian participation seems not to have fallen off as much as other markets.

In 2016, for example, there were 43,101 entries in total, with 1,089 from Canada (about 2.5% of all submissions). This year, there are 30,953 entries, 904 from Canada (about 2.9% of all submissions). Entries in total have dropped about 28.2% since 2016. Canadian entries are down only about 17%.

We also know that some of those 904 entries have already been eliminated from contention after the release of the first three shortlists on June 4. None of Canada’s three entries in Titanium were shortlisted. Of the four Canadian entries to the Glass Lions for Change, two made the shortlist: Bensimon Byrne’s “Boys Don’t Cry” for White Ribbon Campaign, and Grey Canada Toronto’s “First Shave” for P&G Canada (see them both below). And in the Innovation Lions, just one of Canada’s five entries was shortlisted: Grey Toronto’s diabetes detection device “The Puck.”

More shortlists will be revealed over the weekend. The first of five awards shows is Monday night, where the winners in the Print & Publishing, Outdoor, Design, Pharma and Health & Wellness competitions will be announced. The Message will be on the ground in Cannes covering the Festival all week with special daily update newsletters.

The Puck – Case Study from Grey Canada on Vimeo.


David Brown