Canadian Cannes entries up 50% from 2022

Cannes Lions released the total entry numbers by country over the weekend, and it’s clear that it has grown in significance and importance for the Canadian ad industry.

In fact, relative to the size of the market, Canada is arguably the most invested nation in Cannes, other than Brazil.

Start with the total entry numbers: Canada has 1,264 entries this year, up more than 50% from 842 last year, and 907 in 2021/2020 (the doubled up year is because of Covid).

Only the U.S. with 7,303, the United Kingdom with 2,201, Brazil with 2,037, and France with 1,433 had more entries this year, making Canada fifth for total entries by country.

The total entry count of 26,992 was up about 6% from last year’s 25,464. Canada had a little more than 3% of all entries to the Festival last year, compared to 4.7% this year.

In 2019, Canada’s 904 entries put it 10th on the total entries by country list. While some previously major players, such as Australia and Japan, have been pulling back, Canada has been racing ahead.

And when the size of the markets is factored in, it seems like the Canadian ad industry is disproportionately invested in Cannes.

According to GroupM’s just released “This Year, Next Year” ad spend forecast, Canada is the world’s 7th largest ad market, with 2023 ad revenue expected to hit $19.7 billion. By our back-of-the-napkin calculation, that equates to one entry for every $15.6 million in revenue.

Compare that to the United Kingdom, the fourth biggest ad market, at a projected $49.4 billion this year: One entry for every $22.4 million. And France, the sixth biggest ad market, projected to reach $26.9 billion: One entry for every $18.7 million.

In terms of the kinds of Lions Canada is into, the most entered competition this year was Direct, which accounts for 123 of Canada’s total entries. It is followed by Health & Wellness with 109; Brand Experience & Activation, and Outdoor with 92 apiece; and Media with 86.

Of course, the big question this week will be how many of those entries convert to actual trophies. The target is 41, the high-water mark reached last year. (It’s the same official tally as the year before, but, as we said, that was a double cohort year because of Covid).

That tally of 41 meant that Canada won one Lion for every 20.5 entries. If that same winning rate is maintained this year, Canada could be headed to a 60-Lion Festival. We’ll all know by Friday night.

David Brown