Recently, I had the pleasure of co-hosting an event for the PRCA Creative Group with the Digital Group’s Candace Kuss, Director of Social Media at H + K Strategies, looking at the changes in Cannes Lions categories, and what that will mean for PR agencies.
There has been a 78% increase in the number of PR agencies entering the Lions over the last year. With the Lions becoming more accessible and simpler to enter; are we seeing the moment arise for PR firms to truly break beyond the PR Lions? Could categories from Entertainment Lions to Effectiveness Lions be up for grabs for PR?
Here are the top 10 things you should know from our discussion featuring Candace, Stuart Smith, PR Jury President at this years’ Cannes Lions and Global CEO of Ogilvy PR, and Fiorenza Plinio, Head of Business Development & Creative Excellence at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
There are now 9 tracks of awards: Reach, Communication, Craft, Experience, Innovation, Impact, Good, Entertainment, Health.
Reach for the stars
PR comes under the Reach track; alongside the Direct Marketing Lions, Social and Influencer Lions, Media Lions and Creative Data Lions categories.
End of an era
Cyber Lions, Integrated Lions, and Promo Lions are no more.
Divide and conquer
By 2020 charity and commercial work will be judged separately.
(Spread) bets are off
New limits are being placed on the same piece of work being entered multiple times. The same work can only be entered 6 times across main Lions categories – although sub-categories still allow for a small spread of entries.
It’s the winning that counts
Points have shifted to reward winning; not shortlisting.
The festival has shrunk. It’s now 5 days… not 8.
The great give-away
600 passes are going to be given to young talent. Agencies that entered 15 pieces of work last year will see a young talent from within their company rewarded with a free pass to the festival.
Meaningful & measurable
Results make up 30% of the vote in PR Lions categories. Measurable changes to business outcomes, societal outcomes, and real changes in the target audience need to be high on the agenda for entries.
Earned at the core
Winning entries in PR categories are going to need to demonstrate creatively executed ideas whose strength lies in demonstrating earned influence at their core.
So, what do these changes mean?
Well, consensus at the event was that they are a positive step; particularly matching the Lions in the Good track to the UN development goals.
Aligning PR to the Reach track is also an important move; from a creative perspective, recognising PR in this space shows the sheer scale and impact of the work being produced. Stepping further into the light alongside Direct and Media challenges the PR industry to prove its mettle in building brands in a way other disciplines cannot. Of course, in demonstrating the uniqueness of our ability to have impact – we also need to acknowledge that some of the best PR ideas have not always come from within the PR industry.
With the deadline looming in 7 days; embrace the change, enter the awards, and eat the lunch of other categories while you are at it!
Article by: Blair Metcalfe