Webinar: PR highlights from Cannes Lions 2017 

PR Lions judges at Cannes are looking for ideas with earned media at their core which “make you feel something”, according to Ben Titchmarsh, head of media and marketing at Propeller Group, who took part in our latest webinar.

Titchmarsh and Mark Perkins, creative director at MHP Engine, joined us yesterday (June 28) to discuss their experiences of the festival which took place last week.

“The PR Lions jury president was Karen van Bergen, chief executive of Omnicom USA,” said Titchmarsh, who attended the press conference held by the PR Lions judges.

“She looked for PR ideas that had earned at their core. She also said that engagement and conversation that was sparked was something the jury were really looking for. Good, bad, ugly – indifference was the thing that they seemed to rail against.”

The PR Grand Prix was awarded to the Fearless Girl statue created by State Street Global Advisors to mark International Women’s Day (idea creation is credited to McCann New York).

Perkins explained: “I think why Fearless Girl did so well is because it’s a universal image that translated [to all the judges]. What will make a campaign a success is if everyone gets it instantly – the less you have to debate a campaign, that will make it shine through. When you’re doing an award entry I would say less is more.”

He added: “A lot of the quirks of a localised UK campaign don’t necessarily translate to a judge who might be from India, Brazil or China.”

Perkins feels the judges have by and large got it right this year, having made some controversial choices in 2016.

He added: “One of the judges said this year: ‘PR has been at Cannes for eight years and it has gradually adapted to Cannes.’ Some of us take a different view. I think Cannes has gradually adapted to what PR is, and that’s been reflected in some of the changes to judging procedure over the last year.”

In the webinar, Perkins and Titchmarsh expand on what they got out of this year’s festival and their reasons for attending, from broadening their horizons, to seeing great work from around the world, to hearing from uncommon people such as the president of Colombia, to catching up with peers.

The webinar took place on 28 June 2017. You can access the recording here: