Cannes 2011

Debate Over Category Validity Endures

Another Year, Another Round of Questions Concerning Award Proceedings

By Published on .

Up and down the Croisette, one conversation came up again and again: Are the categories for the industry's premiere awards show still valid?

The fest has long given out hardware for press, direct and outdoor, but in the past decade the event has grown a lot in the number of categories that agencies and clients are eligible to enter. In 2005, the Integrated Lions were born for campaigns using three or more types of media; in 2006, the Promo & Activation category was launched; the PR lions were added in 2009; an independent agency of the year award was added in 2010; and this year a category was added for creative effectiveness. There was also a holding company award added to the mix in 2011.

Asked if more changes are coming, Philip Thomas, CEO of the Cannes International Festival of Creativity said, "We will talk to the juries and review over the coming months."

One agency chief creative officer said it doesn't make sense to dole out awards by discipline when the bulk of creative work demanded by clients today is integrated and designed to live across the web, TV, direct mail, print, outdoor and beyond. He's of the view that there should only be one single Grand Prix, not several across the various categories, and that there should only be a single Titanium award that should go to the best idea of the year. Others wondered whether in an age whether everything is digital, it makes sense to keep a separate category of Cannes Lions for digital creative work.

Wrote DDB, Chicago, ad exec John Somerville on Twitter: "There are far too many Cannes categories. "Best temporary in-store displays in a promotional campaign' Really? At least DDB won it!"

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Contributing: Laurel Wentz, Ann-Christine Diaz

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