AMV BBDO wins top agency, FCB top network, WPP top holding company at Cannes Lions 2021

AMV BBDO: picked up five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions
AMV BBDO: picked up five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions

UK agencies performed strongly.

Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was the most awarded advertising agency and WPP the most awarded holding company at Cannes Lions 2021. 

London-based agency AMV BBDO picked up the prize for global agency of the festival, thanks to a haul of five Grands Prix, five gold Lions, nine silver Lions and eight bronze Lions.

Four of the Grands Prix were for AMV BBDO's “#Wombstories” campaign for Bodyform/Libresse that won the top prizes in Film, Film Craft, Titanium and Health & Wellness.

The agency also won the Lions Health United Nations Foundation Grand Prix for Good for The Central Office of Public Interest’s (COPI) addresspollution.org campaign.

Alex Grieve, chief creative officer of AMV BBDO, said: “Being named Agency of the Festival is an incredible honour and doing so with some of our most brilliant work to date, across various clients, makes it even sweeter. Particularly with #Wombstories, we’ve been fortunate to have a fearless client in Essity who are attuned to the power of creativity and aren’t afraid to challenge the status quo. It’s been thrilling pushing the creative boundaries with them year-over-year.”

The agency of the festival accolade is a boost to AMV BBDO, whose chief executive, Sarah Douglas, departed after two and a half years in charge in May. Campaign revealed earlier this week the agency has recruited Sam Hawkey, chief executive of Saatchi & Saatchi London, to replace her.

David Lubars, chairman and chief creative Officer of BBDO Worldwide, said: “We believe creativity is an economic multiplier. We believe creativity is the number one driver of effectiveness. Therefore, winning the way we have at Cannes, the premiere festival of creativity, is meaningful. It’s especially rewarding to win across a depth and breadth of Lion categories.”

UK-based agencies have performed strongly at this year’s Cannes Lions, which was held remotely and combined work from the last two years because of the hiatus in 2020 during the worst of the pandemic.

Interpublic’s FCB was named network of the year, ahead of WPP’s Ogilvy in second and Omnicom’s BBDO Worldwide in third.

It is the first time that FCB has won the network prize after collecting five Grands Prix, including for the City of Chicago for Boards of Change in Media Lions and for The Big Issue and LinkedIn for Raising Profiles in Creative ecommerce Lions. It also picked up two Titanium Lions, 15 gold, 26 silver and 32 bronze.

Susan Credle, global chief creative officer of FCB, credited its global creative council, made up of chief creative officers from offices around the world, who meet bi-yearly and “come together to evaluate and amplify the brightest work around the global network”.

WPP was named Holding Company of the Year for the first time since 2017, after Omnicom won it in 2018 and 2019 (and there was no festival in 2020).

WPP agencies, led by Ogilvy, collected a total of 190 Lions, including a Titanium Lion, 12 Grands Prix, 28 gold, 57 silver and 92 bronze, with winners representing 38 different countries.  

Mark Read, chief executive of WPP, who took charge in September 2018, said: “What so many of the winners at this year’s Cannes had in common was a commitment to harnessing the power of creativity to bring about change for the better in the world. My ambition for WPP is that we are known as the world’s most creative organisation, and one that uses its creativity to build better futures for our people, planet, clients and communities. Becoming the most creative company in our industry is a good place to start.”

WPP spent much of the past 12 months without a global chief creative officer, after the departure of John O’Keeffe in April 2020, but Read recruited Rob Reilly, from McCann Worldgroup, who started in May.

Reilly said: “The past 18 months have been the most challenging of our lives. But we will look back on them as the time when creativity shined the brightest.”

Simon Cook, managing director of Lions, said: “Over the past five days we’ve seen the return of the global creative benchmark, and the winning work that sets the bar for the entire industry, celebrated creative excellence through our award shows and debriefs – and come together as a community, united in the belief that creativity has the power to build business, shape society, and change the world for the better.”

Agency of the Festival

  • 1. AMV BBDO, London
  • 2. Publicis Italy, Milan
  • 3. FCB Chicago

Independent Agency of the Festival

  • 1. Wieden+Kennedy, Portland
  • 2. The Bloc, New York
  • 3. Rethink, Toronto

Network of the Festival

  • 1. FCB
  • 2. Ogilvy
  • 3. BBDO Worldwide

Holding Company of the Festival

  • 1. WPP
  • 2. Omnicom
  • 3. Interpublic Group

Creative brand of the Festival

  • 1. Burger King
  • 2. Bodyform/Libresse
  • 3. Dove 

Palme D’Or

  • 1. Chelsea Pictures, US
  • 2. Pulse Films, US
  • 3. Division, France
  • 4. Smugger, US
  • 5. Prettybird, US
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