Cannes Lions may not roar this year. The mecca of the global advertising fraternity has seen a 20 per cent drop in entries this year on the back of a slowing economy. However, the drop in entries from across the Asia-Pacific region is lower, at 10 per cent. Entries from India, too, stand at 982 compared to 1,100 entries last year —a 10 per cent dip
Cannes Lions is the largest gathering of worldwide advertising professionals and advertisers as well as the most prestigious annual advertising awards.
Agencies from India that have sent the highest number of entries this year include Ogilvy & Mather, Publicis India / Ambience, McCann Erickson, JWT India and Leo Burnett.
Many leading advertising agencies like Rediffusion DY&R, Mudra, Saatchi & Saatchi and Lintas Media will be giving their annual trip to the South of France a miss this year as they skip attendance at the Cannes Lion 2009.
Unofficial estimates peg the drop in global delegate registrations at around 50 per cent, while the dip in India is understood to be around 30 per cent.
For instance, Ogilvy & Mather (O&M), India’s largest advertising agency — which normally sends 14 to 15 delegates , will be represented just by its head honchos — Piyush Pandey, executive chairman and Rajeev Rao one of the executive creative directors at the company.
“We are scrutinising all our costs and even the entries are lower by about 50 per cent this year,” says Pandey.
Likewise, Prasoon Joshi, executive chairman, McCann Worldgroup India, and regional creative director, McCann Asia who is going as a judge for the Platinum Lions category is also forthright:
“The choice is between saving jobs or cutting back on expenses and we have cut back on expenses by not sending any delegates to Cannes this year. However, the number of entries sent are equivalent to last years.”
Moreover, a regular at the festival for the last eight years, K V Sridhar (popularly known as Pops), national creative director, Leo Burnett is among those who are not going to be at Cannes this year. His agency normally sends 6 to 7 people but this year they will not have any delegates participating in the festival as the agency has decided to be cautious and cut back on expenses.
However, the number of entries sent for the awards is same as last year.
“Cannes is expensive and hence we decided it's better to send our work there and have 30 entries vying for awards but have no delegate representation,” said K V Sridhar.
The situation is similar across the industry as over 30 agencies and client companies like Airtel, Parle Agro, Aditya Birla, Tata AIG Life Insurance and General Motor India — which had attended the festival last year — are now giving the azure blue skies and pristine beaches of Cannes a miss .
Over 10,000 registered delegates from 94 countries and around 12,000 visitors from the advertising and allied industries generally attend this event. Over 28,000 ads from all over the world (this year — 22,600 entries from 86 countries) are showcased and judged at the festival. Winners receive the highly-coveted Lion trophy.