Cannes Lions award entries are down from 2019 amid pandemic
As the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity prepares to open its virtual doors next week, organizers have revealed that overall entry numbers are down compared to 2019—despite this year’s awards spanning two years’ worth of work.
The 2021 Lions have seen 29,074 pieces of work entered from 90 countries, compared to 30,953 from 89 countries in 2019, reflecting a decline of 6%. Categories that declined the most are work that relies on long term strategy and results, with entries in the Creative Effectiveness Lions category down 38% and the Creative Strategy Lions seeing a 20% drop. Cannes Lions suggested that companies have “shifted to short term strategy in the face of unprecedented circumstances.”
However, other categories saw a boost, particularly those reflecting the pivot to digital during the pandemic. Titanium Lions entries were up 15%, while entries for Social & Influencer Lions were up by 14%. The Creative eCommerce Lions recorded a 12% increase year-over-year. The newly launched Creative Business Transformation Lions, celebrating “creativity that drives business forward,” has had a “strong” first year, with 202 entries. The award with the most entries is Film, with 2,726 entries.
Cannes Lions also said that the work comes from a “broader mix” of entrants than previous years. Entries from independent agencies increased by 14% and those from production companies by 19%.
Lions Managing Director Simon Cook said in a statement that this was a moment for the industry “to reflect but also look forward."
“Bringing together this mass of work from across the globe to present to our juries is always an exciting moment for us,” Cook added. “The work gives us an initial snapshot of the industry, before our expert juries take on the task of awarding the work that will set the new creative benchmark. This is a highly anticipated moment and the work across two years tells a story about the changing shape of creativity throughout the global pandemic and showcases the power of creativity as a vehicle for change.”
Cannes Lions kicks off on Monday with livestreamed awards shows running from 21-25 June. Find out more in our Ad Age roundup of the schedule.