Cannes 2009

Cannes Lions Entries Sink 20%

Decline Isn't as Steep as Those at Some Other Awards Shows

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NEW YORK ( -- Entries are down 20% to 22,652 for the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival later this month. The drop is less steep than those some awards shows are experiencing this year, as recession-hit agencies save their shrunken awards budgets to enter the most prestigious events, such as the Cannes Lions.

The Cannes Gold Film Lion award.
The Cannes Gold Film Lion award.
The fall in entries from the U.S., the festival's biggest entrant, was an even sharper 25%, to 2,726 from a total of 3,643 entries in 2008.

The hardest-hit Cannes categories are the oldest ones for the most traditional media. Film entries fell 25.4% to 3,453 this year, and print is down 32.2% to 5,048 submissions. Some of the newest Cannes categories that are still gaining momentum fared the best, with the design Lions up 1.2% to 1,139 entries and the promo Lions up 1.4% to 1,118 submissions.

The public-relations Lions, which are launching this year, also helped prop up entries.

"With 431 entries from 239 companies in 48 countries participating [in the PR Lions], it's a great welcome to Cannes for this new category," said festival CEO Philip Thomas.

Interactive takes hit
Somewhat surprisingly, the interactive category was hit almost as hard as more traditional media. Entries for the cyber Lions, usually a fast-growing category, are down 20% to 2,205.

Direct Lions entries fell 19.6% to 1,364, media Lions were down 8% to 1,840, outdoor entries dropped 23% to 4,498 and radio entries were down 8.4% to 1,153. One of the most eagerly watched categories, the titanium and integrated Lions, fell 6.7% to 403 entries.

In other recent shows, Spain's prestigious El Sol ad festival, which gets about half of its entries from Latin America, saw entries drop one-third at last week's festival in San Sebastian.

It's unclear how much attendance might drop at the weeklong Cannes festival, starting June 21 in the south of France, from the usual figure of about 10,000 people.

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