There is some precedent for withholding the Grand Prix. In 1995,
when Cannes only had two categories -- film and press/poster --
juries refused to award a Grand Prix in either category, and didn't
even announce any Gold Lions in the press/poster competition. In
1980, jury president Barry Day awarded no Film Grand Prix either.
The year after, entries and attendance both suffered. However, in a
press conference Saturday, Cannes Lions chairman Terry Savage said
he did not believe this year's decision will affect entries, saying
that the World Cup had more of an effect on attendance this
Last week there was no Grand Prix in the pharmaceutical category
at the first Health Lions. That was less shocking that Saturday's
decision because the Health Lions are new, leaving judges to
determine where to set the bar, and because pharma is an industry
with myriad regulatory hurdles for creative work to navigate.
"Juries use the Grand Prix to not only honor the absolute best
work in the world, but to send a message to the industry about the
category itself," said John Patroulis, chief creative officer at
BBH New York, in an email. "So work that wins
is usually something that has helped move the category forward in
some way, or reestablished a fundamental that had started to slip
in recent years. So not awarding a Grand Prix sends an equally
powerful message -- that there's been great work, but nothing that
has fundamentally moved the category forward."
Behind the Film Craft Jury
Chaired by Smuggler's Brian Carmody, the Film Craft jury
awarded 16 Gold Lions. That was "far more than we thought we ever
would," Mr. Carmody said. "There are so many things that are
fantastic," he added. "It's very hard to be number one, and we had
a number of those number ones."
The decision not to award a Grand Prix was unanimous, although
Mr. Carmody said he initially felt a little "ill" over the outcome.
He became "100% confident" later, he said.
Juror Martin Loraine, deputy exec creative director at AMV
BBDO, said that the jury didn't want to feel
like it had to award a Grand Prix. "There was no outstanding one
piece of work that shone through."
Work that received Gold Lions included Volvo Trucks' "The Epic
Split," P&G's "Pick Them Back Up" and Chipotle's "Scarecrow."
"Scarecrow" and "Split" both won top honors in the Cyber category
earlier in the week.
Behind the Branded Content & Entertainment
Chaired by Doug Scott of OgilvyEntertainment, the branded content
jury awarded 11 Gold Lions. Nine of them were eligible for the
Grand Prix. The other two were for non-profits and thus not
eligible for the top prize. "Unfortunately, with all the the great
work that did come, the jury was unable this year to award a Grand
Prix," said Mr. Scott. "We felt after looking through the Golds
that qualified that there was no one piece that was exception."
This is only the third year the branded content category has
existed. Asked whether this might send a discouraging message for
entrants, Mr. Scott said he did not think so. "I just don't think
it has the level of great work this year," he said. "I do believe
this industry and the practice of branded content is on the
Work that received Gold Lions included Samsung's "Oscar Selfie,"
Chipotle's "The Scarecrow," and "Sweetie," for Terres des Hommes
Netherlands, which used a computer-generated child to identify
pedophiles in online sting operations.