Wear your Lions with pride: creativity has come home

Football might not have come home this summer, but creativity did.

By the time you read this, football might have come home. If it has, bloody brilliant  if you're an England fan, you'll now be high on nationalistic self-belief, standing up there on the edge believing you can fly. And if football's still off travelling the world, well... bugger. At least creativity's come home this summer.

Forget three Lions, UK agencies have just scored 110. And Adam & Eve/DDB has just brought home the creativity World Cup as the most awarded agency on the planet at the Cannes Lions festival. Back of the net.

And it was an all-England final in the end: Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO took the runner-up spot – second-highest scorer with three Grands Prix. Grands Prix also went to McCann London, Wieden & Kennedy and Bartle Bogle Hegarty/MediaCom. Yeah, the Americans scored more metal overall, but for our size we’re Golden Boot all the way.

If you don’t work with or for these agencies, perhaps you don’t give a damn that they’ve just hit the bonus button. But their achievements say more about yours and your industry’s than England’s performance in Russia.

The UK’s creative awards haul says this market’s bubbling with talent. It says the benchmark for creative excellence is way up there. It says we’re innovating and leading and stretching.

And UK agencies are strong across the whole bench, not just scoring in the traditional positions, such as Film, but taking gold (and above) Lions in Glass, Sustainable Development Goals, Titanium, Creative Data, Direct, Media, PR, Social and Influencer, Film Craft, Creative Ecommerce and Entertainment.

Doesn’t that make you want to jump on a Malm bed or kick a couple of Vänskaplig cushions with joy (though you’d never actually do that, right?)? Not convinced all these creative awards mean, yes, you really can fly? Still think our best creative days are behind us?

Nationalistic fervour is rarely a good thing but COME ON. UK agencies and marketers are pushing through again. The spent forces have gone (only rising up at leaving parties or wakes, breath rank with toxic invective). A new generation of creative leader has arrived: interesting, provocative, inclusive. The work’s more nuanced, richer, complex, and the cultural rub-off is more rewarding. Creative departments are slowly opening up, diversifying – too slowly but change is forcing its way through.

And, slowly, there’s a new wave of marketers rising. The best of the younger ones are brave and ambitious: unwearied (yet) by battles with procurement; more confident about the value of what’s established and proven and less panicked into over-indexing on the new; more inclined to see their agency as partner not supplier.

One marketer who won a big, big Lion told me she’d had to fight her board all the way to get the idea approved: "It was me and my agency’s creative chief against the middle-aged, near-sighted, risk-averse, conservative blokes in suits who run my company."

She and her creative partner won that battle, won one of the world’s most important creative prizes and, most importantly, have won a significantly increased market share for her brand. Hopefully next time they won’t have to fight so hard.

All this is happening here, now. Stop moaning into your beer, get up on the edge and believe you can fly. 110 Lions on our shirt. Agency of the Year. It’s home. It’s home, it’s home…

(Don't forget to enter your best creative work in the Campaign Big Awards: deadline 19 July.)

Claire Beale is the global editor-in-chief of Campaign. 
@clairebeale

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