Cannes Lions PR jury president Paul Taaffe calls for festival name change

22 June, 2010

CANNES — President of the Cannes Lions PR jury Paul Taaffe has called on the Cannes Lions festival organisers to change its name to recognise the wide variety of marketing disciplines represented at the festival, now in its 57th year. He also challenged the PR industry to raise its game after the number of advertising agencies entering and winning PR Lions continued to eclipse PR agencies.

Speaking after the PR Lions awards ceremony, Paul Taaffe commented: "The advertising industry is eating our lunch at these awards and the PR industry has to raise its game. There was a big increase in entries to the PR lions category overall but the number of entries from PR agencies was actually down. The PR industry has got to wake up and understand that our work can be exceptional and this is an opportunity to showcase that work in the best possible light. We need to do more.

"I will be talking to the organisers of Cannes Lions about potential barriers and why the PR industry is not engaging. I believe a good first step could be to look at its name. Cannes Lions is no longer just an advertising festival. Good creative ideas can come from anybody but the different disciplines have grown up for a good reason and it is misleading to group all of these under the 'advertising' umbrella.

"Of course, we also need to acknowledge that the advertising agencies have been playing the Cannes game for much longer. This is the 57th year of the festival and the PR category was only added last year so the industry is not as adept in packaging and showcasing their work as agencies who have been doing this for far longer.

“I also believe more needs to be done to make it easier for companies to fulfil entry criteria be it through mentoring or providing low cost copywriting or video capabilities, especially for smaller agencies. Clients also have a big role to play in saying these awards actually matter, and more active promotion is needed not just by the Cannes Lions organisers but the PR industry as a whole."

For further information:
Poppy Nagra
Global PR Manager
Hill & Knowlton
Tel. +44 (0)207 413 3021
Mob. +44 (0)7956 169209

About Hill & Knowlton
Hill & Knowlton, Inc. is a leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients. The firm is headquartered in New York, with 79 offices in 44 countries, as well as an extensive associate network. The agency is part of WPP, one of the world's largest communications services groups.

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