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There's Value for Agencies in Cannes Lions Awards

6/25/2013 09:36:44 AM Eastern

The annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
bills itself as the world's biggest celebration of creativity in communications,
and this year more than 34,000 advertising entries from all over the world were
showcased.

The more than 11,000 attendees from some 90 countries who
attend the seven-day event—which just ended on June 22—go to workshops,
exhibitions and screenings and network with their creative and media agency
colleagues.

The cost for agencies, many of which send dozens of execs,
is steep and many in the ad community say—not for attribution—that it's just
one big party.

However, the value of winning a Cannes Lions award (or two
or more) can justify the expense an agency incurs when sending its execs.

That's the viewpoint of Brian Wieser, senior research
analyst of Pivotal Research Group, who in a report released on Monday said
agencies that win Cannes Lions awards raise their stature in the industry and
their ability to garner new clients or receive higher payment from existing
ones.

"Awards such as the Lions are important because they mean
agencies can justify higher margins from their clients," Wieser said, adding
that "awards from events such as the Lions make an agency more appealing to
prospective employees, meaning agencies can secure better talent and pay less for
their talent because these agencies become more appealing to work for."

Wieser said the "read-through" of the Cannes Lions awards
results "is certainly favorable for WPP, if unsurprising. Results are also
positive for Interpublic as the Festival's single biggest Grand Prix award
winning campaign ever came from McCann-Erickson offices, a reminder to
investors that McCann continues as one of the world's dominant agency
networks."

WPP agencies won the most Lions awards, but IPG's McCann
Melbourne's animated "Dumb Ways to Die" train-safety video for Metro Trains won
a record five Grand Prix awards, eclipsing the previous record holder that took
three. It won or shared the Grand Prix in the film, integrated, direct, PR and
radio categories. The campaign also won 18 gold, three silvers and two bronzes
across those and other categories.

Wieser said aside from the positive image McCann portrays to
investors, the awards will also help the agency "in its positioning with
prospects in near-term pitches."

Wieser also cited IPG's Draftfcb New York, which won a Grand
Prix for its work with Oreo, saying it was "one of the only big country/big
agency big brand Grand Prix awards of the year."

Wieser added, "Beyond highlighting that Draftfcb remains
capable of work of this stature, this is further notice as only a handful of
global agency networks were among the Grand Prix winners."

Four offices of WPP's Ogilvy & Mather each won one Grand
Prix and Omnicom's BBDO, TBWA and DDB each won one for offices around the
world.

The importance of effective ad campaigns in today's
fragmented media landscape cannot be underestimated, and Wieser believes the
worldwide breadth that the Festival's awards now encompass makes them of great
value to the agencies that win them.

"Advertising agencies remain as critical middlemen between
marketers and media owners," Wieser said. "More fragmentation of marketing
choices means more need for agencies to filter ideas and socialize them through
their clients' organizations. The complexity of conventional advertising
campaigns today is often well beyond what a typical marketer can efficiently
manage on its own. Consequently, we view the long-term prospects for agency
holding companies more favorably than the degree to which they are often given
credit."

So the next time someone makes a snide remark about all the
money the agencies are spending to fly their executive off for a week of sun
and partying in Cannes, remember Wieser's take on the Festival of Creativity
week.  The title of his most recent report: "Agencies: Yes, We Cannes."

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