AMEC to sponsor the ICCO House of PR at the Cannes Lions Festival

ICCO is delighted to announce that AMEC, the International Association for the Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, is a sub-sponsor of the House of PR at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

ICCO annually sponsors the Young Lions PR Competition and the House of PR, a beachside cabana venue designed as the hub for the PR and communications industry to connect and network at the Cannes Lions Festival.

As a not-for-profit association, ICCO partners with a select number of organisations to help fund the project and create a space for the community to learn and share ideas around the subject of creativity.

Francis Ingham, Chief Executive, ICCO, said: “The two elements of success in PR are creativity and effectiveness. So it’s brilliant news that the House of PR will bring them both together this year, as we welcome AMEC into –pretty much literally- our big tent! Another big step forward for our industry, as we put evaluation and measurement at the heart of PR and communications practice.”

Barry Leggetter, CEO, AMEC, said: “We see our sponsor involvement in Cannes as a logical extension of the strong collaboration we have already with ICCO and with the Cannes PR Lions.”

AMEC provides an advisory service for the Research and Measurement categories of the PR Lions awards, helping firms improve their entries through objective advice from industry professionals.

The House of PR will play host to interviews, panel discussions, live streaming and networking events from 18th – 21st June, 2017.


To find out more about ICCO’s activities at the Cannes Lions Festival, please contact:




Cannes Lions 2017 jury presidents named – Karen van Bergen to chair PR Lions

Each year, entries to the Cannes Lions awards are scrutinised by the industry’s brightest minds. They pore over the work submitted, whittling them down to a shortlist and ultimately awarding the most impressive work, the work that then becomes a touchstone for creativity over the coming year.

The Cannes Lions jury presidents are selected as the most highly regarded and best qualified people in the industry to judge the work and determine the winners. Once appointed, they’re bound by a series of obligations which they must commit to in writing, as well as undertaking to uphold the expectations of judging.

Here are the jury presidents for Cannes Lions 2017:

PR: Karen van Bergen, Omnicom Public Relations Group

Cyber: Colleen DeCourcy, Wieden + Kennedy

Design: Sandra Planeta, Planeta Design

Digital Craft: Henry Cowling, UNIT9

Direct: Ted Lim, Dentsu Brand Agencies APAC

Film: Pete Favat, Deutsch North America

Film Craft: Robert Galluzzo, FINCH

Glass: Wendy Clark, DDB Worldwide, North America

Media: Mike Cooper, PHD

Mobile: Andy Hood, AKQA

Outdoor: Bruno Bertelli, Publicis WW

Print & Publishing: Fran Luckin, Grey Africa

Product Design: Ruth Berktold, YES Architecture

Promo & Activation: Stéphane Xiberras, BETC

Radio: Mario D’Andrea, Dentsu Brazil

Titanium & Integrated: Khai Meng Tham, Ogilvy & Mather


ICCO is a proud supporter of Cannes Lions 2017 as the official sponsor of the Young Lions PR Competition and organiser of the House of PR.

For more information on how to get involved, contact ICCO General Manager, Charlene Corrin (

AMEC to provide Research Advisors for the PR Lions Awards, Research & Data Categories

AMEC, the International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, will again provide an advisory service for the Research and Measurement categories of the PR Lions awards, part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

AMEC will provide research advisors to help firms improve their entries through a new Data & Measurement Advisory Scheme.

In the scheme, selected representatives from AMEC will be available to assist companies entering campaigns into two categories: Research, Data Analytics & Insight Generation and PR Excellence in Effectiveness.

The research advice is available on a confidential first come, first serve basis and will be allocated to the first 20 entries into each category, determined by the PR Lions organisers prior to the Festival.

Speaking on the partnership Fiorenza Plinio, Head of Awards Development at Cannes Lions, commented: “We were pleased to get AMEC on board last year to help us grow these two data and research categories. We are confident that we will attract more entries in 2017 with an increased focus on data analytics and evaluation within PR.”

“We believe the partnership with AMEC will offer entrants a unique opportunity to get strong, objective advice from industry professionals, and have the best chance of showcasing award-winning work.”

Barry Leggetter, CEO of AMEC, said: “We are delighted to again work with PR Lions to help them grow these two data and research categories. It is a practical way in which some of our most expert researchers can help enhance the PR campaigns that have produced a measureable and proven impact on a client’s business and reputation.”

2017 Advisors:

Aseem Sood, Chief Executive Officer of Impact Research & Measurement Pvt. Ltd and Director at the International Association of Measurement and Evaluation of Communication, UK (AMEC).

Barbara Bassi, international PR and communication’s measurements consultant and European Chapter Chair and Vice Chair of the Amec College and Education working group.

Colin Wheeler, Director at Understanding Expertise and Associate at the Measurement Practice, UK.

Marcus Gault, Managing Director of Kantar Media Evaluation and Board Director of global measurement body AMEC.

Darja Kupinic Guscic, Founder of Media net, the first agency in South–East Europe for measuring media communication. Founder and co-owner of MCA group, the leading SEE media monitoring and communication evaluation group.

Johna Burke, Chief Marketing Officer of BurrellesLuce, North America. Member of the PR News Measurement Hall of Fame and North-America Co-Chair of AMEC.

Khali Sakkas, Chief Executive, Insights & Research at Isentia, Asia Pacific and AMEC Board member and chair of the AMEC APAC Chapter.

Mazen Nahawi, Global CEO of CARMA, major component of News Group International.

Paul Hender, Head of Insight of Gorkana and member of the AMEC European Chapter Leadership Team.

Rayna de Lange, CEO of DeLange Analytics and member of the AMEC’s Education Group and guest lecturer on communications measurement and evaluation in several universities.

Richard Bagnall, CEO of PRIME Research UK, SVP PRIME Research Europe and Chairman of AMEC. Member of the UK Government Communications Service’s Cabinet Office Evaluation Council, UK.


About AMEC: The International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC) is the leading global trade body for PR programme research, measurement and analytics. AMEC has more than 140 members in over 40 countries.

About PR Lions: Part of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the PR Lions celebrate creative PR work that tangibly build awareness, trust or increased understanding between an organization or brand and its target audiences. In 2017, Cannes Lions will be an eight-day programme of creative inspiration, celebration, education and networking, attracting over 15,000 delegates from around 100 countries. Please visit our website for more info:

For further information contact:

Fiorenza Plinio

Head of Awards Development at Cannes Lions:

Barry Leggetter


Mobile: +44 7748 677504 or +44 1268 412414:

17 interviews in the Cannes

Blog post by Russell Goldsmith, Director, Conversis Corporate


There are a number of ways to ‘do’ Cannes Lions – attending presentations in the Festival Hall, networking on the beach drinking plenty of rosé, having meetings in the posh hotels, or if you’re really lucky, partying on the private yachts listening to Take That play an exclusive gig (sadly that wasn’t me!).

My experience was slightly different, as I spent most of my time in ICCOs Cabana, aptly named the House of PR, where I was recording interviews for my csuitepodcast series.  However, what this allowed me to do was get an incredible perspective of what was happening across a whole range of aspects of the event, as in the three shows I recorded, I interviewed 17 guests that included Award Judges and Winners, CEOs, Creative experts, Data experts and even a spoken word artist who is now working with brands as a Social Influencer (and yes, I had to look up what a spoken word artist was too before I met him).

What this meant however, was that through my podcasts, I gained a wealth of insight as to what different people look to take away from Cannes, plus I got to chat in depth about some truly creative campaigns that you can only have the utmost respect for the individuals who come up with them – I mean seriously, someone, somewhere in a brainstorm, said, “I’ve got a cracking idea.  Why don’t we send kids who have broken their arms a transfer of their x-ray for them to stick on their cast, which can have a bar code, so that whilst their arm is healing, they can go into a supermarket, scan the bar code, and get free calcium rich milk” – by the way, someone must have said that at some point because that was a Gold winning campaign in the Health Lions for Anchor Milk in New Zealand by Fonterra and Colenso BBDO.

There is, without doubt some amazing creativity on show throughout the week and you cannot be anything but be inspired by it all.  There was, however, one stand out theme that seemed to run through a lot of what I saw, and that was Virtual Reality, an example of which was a winning campaign by DDB Remedy for Excedrin®, an OTC migraine treatment in the US, which helped to address the issue that people often respond to someone with a migraine by just saying that it’s nothing more than a headache and not serious!   DDB built a simulated VR experience and mobile app using insight from migraine sufferers so that they could personalise their migraine and share it with friends and family to gain their empathy.

Given I was sitting doing my interviews in the House of PR, it was no surprise that, whilst I was being wowed by all this creativity, a lot of the talk around me in the Cabana was why weren’t the PR agencies leading this work, submitting more entries for the awards, and even winning in their own category – only five of 84 PR Lions were awarded to PR agencies.

It’s clearly an area that needs to be addressed and talking to the likes of Richard Millar, CEO for H+K Strategies UK and Regional President for Europe, he is doing something about it in the talent he is recruiting.  Richard even said that he couldn’t remember the last time he interviewed someone with a typical PR background and that H+K are now hiring data scientists and more craft-led creatives, although essentially, he sees his agency as a canvass for a multitude of different skills and passions that they can bring to the benefit of the client who needs to engage with the public.

One observation I did make though, when I finally got out of the House of PR and had a wander around, was that as grateful as I was for all the free food and drink I consumed at the Facebook and YouTube beaches, where was Weibo and WeChat? It’s something I pay far more attentional to now I work for translation agency, Conversis, as a lot of our time is spent looking into cultural understanding, something that’s essential when localising content for international marketing, and it’s an area that has fascinated me since working for the company.  A lot of our agency clients would have been at Cannes, and so that was the other reason I was there – it wasn’t all about chatting to industry experts whilst sipping wine overlooking the beach!  However, for an International Festival of Creativity that spent a lot of time talking about social influence, it felt like a huge chunk of the online population wasn’t represented – (Free) Food (from Facebook and YouTube) for Thought perhaps for next year?

Listen to the csuite podcasts:

Show 24 – Cannes Lions I

Show 25 – Cannes Lions II

Show 26 – Cannes Lions III

USA’s team of Ben King and Michael Di Salvo win the PR Young Lions Competition 2016

ICCO is pleased to announce that the USA team of Ben King and Michael Di Salvo from Ogilvy Public Relations have won the gold award at the Young PR Lions Competition 2016, sponsored by ICCO and partners Ketchum, Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Ogilvy Public Relations, Weber Shandwick and FleishmanHillard.

The team won the accolade at the annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2016 which is currently taking place. The PR Young Lions competition saw 20 teams send their selected teams of two PRs under the age of 30 to Cannes. On Saturday 18th June, the teams were each given a brief by Nikhil Seth, Executive Director, United Nations, and on the following day had 12 hours to create a creative and effective campaign.

Winning the silver award was Norway’s team of Scott Olav Allan and Henriette Frølich Holte of Gambit Hill+Knowlton Strategies; and winning bronze was the UK’s team of Paul Stollery and Matt Watson, Hotwire PR.

Francis Ingham MPRCA, Chief Executive, ICCO PR, said: “It is with great pleasure that we applaud Ben and Michael’s win and the placing of both Gambit Hill+Knowlton and Hotwire PR’s teams. Seeing the level of talent at this year’s festival has demonstrated to me that the future of our industry is in very good hands and all three teams should be incredibly proud.”

Blair Metcalfe, Client Director, MSLGROUP, said: “The efforts, the creativity, the inspiring ideas they came up with are a great exposition of the quality of our industry; it’s diversifying. I’m sure all of them will be back winning Lions at Cannes on the main stage in a few years to come.”

The Gold, Silver, and Bronze winners are:


Ben King and Michael DiSalvo

Ogilvy Public Relations, USA


Scott Olav Allan and Henriette Frølich Holte

Gambit Hill+Knowlton Strategies, Norway


Paul Stollery and Matt Watson

Hotwire PR, United Kingdom


Crystal Balling the Cannes Festival of Creativity by Karen Strauss

Article by Karen Strauss, Partner, Chief Creative & Strategy Officer at Ketchum. 


When the wise people at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity put together 8 days of inspiring content for the international creative elite, they are curating workshops and sessions to hit the big issues keeping creative leaders up at night.

This year’s line-up looks provocative, marked by a whiff of alarm around how truly difficult it’s become to cut through all the content pollution.  After poring over hundreds and hundreds of seminar titles and descriptions, here’s what I expect will be the buzz on the Riviera.

STANDING OUT HAS NEVER BEEN HARDER – The boldface speakers in Cannes will be cajoling marketing communicators to invent new ways of telling stories.  Innovator Anna Wintour will urge the industry to steal a page from “Hamilton,” which literally invented a new genre of musical theatre storytelling; Academy Award-winning director Alejandro Inarritu will advocate the kind of mould-breaking that produced “The Revenant” and “Birdman,” and Barton F. Graf founder Gerry Graf will rail against groupthink and insist that finding one original-thinking creative partner is the only path to elusive breakthroughs.

A great rallying cry for novelty.

IS VIRTUAL REALITY AND 360 VIDEO THE ANSWER? – Nobody will leave Cannes without Virtual Reality and 360 experiences, yet given the ubiquity of these technologies, one has to wonder if they’ll be stand-out strategies or instantly too commonplace.  Google is promising immersive experiences that enhance storytelling; Samsung’s VR and 360 showcase will demonstrate how to “engage culture and experience compassion”; and MOFILM will share “View From Above,” (, its incredible aerial film project that used drones to film 18 destinations where Emirates flies, allowing travellers to experience each city with remarkable perspective.

Trailblazing immersive experiences.

IS SEX THE ANSWER? – Better connections with consumers may be as primal as plumbing their sexual desires, and this year in Cannes, sex is on stage.  My friends at Flamingo believe a generation’s sexuality is a key indicator of its drivers and values and that each generation’s approach to sex is different.  They’ll argue that recognizing sexual attitudes are a path to connecting with broader hopes and dreams.  Another panel with sex therapist Esther Perel will draw connections between online dating and brand promiscuity today, providing tips for cultivating desire in all kinds of relationships.

Sex plays to our primitive instincts.

IS HUMOUR THE ANSWER? – In winning over audiences, comedy has long been king – and thankfully in Cannes, “queen.” The female SNL trio of Cecily Strong, Aidy Bryant and Vanessa Bayer will make the case for women’s humour; Rashida Jones, a comedy writer and star of “Parks & Recreation” will reveal how humour can shine a light on important issues; and Mike McAvoy, the CEO of The Onion, will caution that “if you’re not having any fun with your brand, you’re doing it wrong.”

Laughter IS the shortest distance between two people.

DURATION & EPHEMERA MATTER – Beyond the topics, tone and technology, the length of content – and whether it’s ephemeral or not – takes on added importance in Cannes.  The Ephemeral Web is how people consume content every day, so how can brands create lasting messages when they self-destruct?  Embracing ephemerality to ignite creativity will be a hot topic.  In one session, we’ll consider whether long-form branded video content is the answer to shorter attention spans, based on new research around social media viewing habits.

Size matters, just what size is the question.

HAS CONTENT KILLED ADVERTISING? – And the mother lode – can advertising be saved?  One CCO wishes it weren’t such a dirty word, and urges her industry to not let words like content and storytelling replace “traditional” advertising in constructing brand purpose.  Conversely, a pair of advertising strategy officers will start a movement to stop advertising to save the industry. At the heart of the debate is ad blocking, and whether creativity and technology can come together to deliver digital experiences that consumers love rather than block.   Seems advertising is fighting for its life in Cannes.

Will it survive the week?

Karen is leading a panel this year titled “Content for the Ages, All of Them” that will examine age-agnostic marketing.  It is scheduled for Wednesday, June 22 at 14:30 in The Forum.

For full schedule see ICCO Guide to Cannes Lions:


Raise Your Hand! PR at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

Written by Renee Wilson, President, PR Council


The marketplace is quickly transforming. That is evident. The older, more traditional forms of communications are no longer moving the needle as they once did. However, one thing is clear:  the methods, strategies and activity that have PR-thinking at the core are where the action is. It is my prediction that this year at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, we will see the majority of winners from a host of categories have PR-thinking at the core of the idea. And when attendees ask why the program was so successful, raise your hand and proudly say it was “PR-thinking that powered the strategy and the creative idea.”

This will be my sixth year going to the Festival, and I’m just as excited as ever. Nowhere else in the world can you have a professional experience that is so awe-inspiring, educational and enjoyable all in one place. I’ve had the good fortune of serving on two PR juries, once as the PR jury chair, and this year, along with two of my PR Council Members, I’ll be serving as a PR Mentor in the Cannes Young Lions Marketers Academy, along with A.G. Bevilaqua of M Booth and Ron D’Innocenzo of Golin. It’s a great opportunity to help teach and inspire about the power of PR-thinking as it’s important to help marketers of all ages understand more about the types of work we do. It’s not PR versus advertising. It’s PR and advertising, and media, and in-store, online etc.

What do I mean when I say PR-thinking? It’s strategies and ideas that involve working with influencers, third parties, experiential, content and stakeholder relationships for starters. You will find it in the winning Cannes entries.

However, if you are still on the fence as to whether or not to attend the Festival, or more importantly to care, here are three reasons:

1. Cannes Festival showcases creativity at its best. There is no other festival that brings together the greatest creative minds in the global marketing communications industry and gives you access to the best and brightest in integrated communications. Think of it like the Olympics of Marketing. We can all learn from the powerful work.

2. Young Lions Competition. For only the third time, PR is included as a category in this competition. We are proudly sending Team USA and I’m sure other regions are putting forth their bright young talent too. These future leaders definitely have a thing or two to teach us about the industry.

3. ICCO House of PR. For the second year in a row, ICCO will be hosting the House of PR. This is a great meeting place for PR professionals to gather to glean insights from the juries, points of view from thought leaders, and network with colleagues from different agencies and companies from around the world. It can’t be missed!

I hope to see you at the Cannes festival, where we can push forward the power of PR-thinking from around the world, inspire others, and be inspired!


For more information about the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity visit:

PR to be represented across multiple juries at Cannes Lions 2016


The juries have been announced for the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, with public relations professionals taking places in PR Lions, Glass Lions, Health & Wellness Lions and the new Lions Entertainment.

Across the whole festival nearly 400 people from 40 countries have been confirmed as judges, with 40 per cent of all jurors comprising women, up from 31 per cent last year.

The festival is taking place from 18 – 25 June in Cannes, with the judging occurring live on-site and the awards ceremonies scheduled throughout the week.

The PR Lions jury will be led by John Clinton, North American Head of Creative and Content at Edelman. There are a total of 21 jurors from both independent agencies and networks on the PR Lions jury who will judge the world’s best creative PR campaigns over 6 days.

Mary Whenman, President of Women in PR, has been selected for the Glass Lions jury, the award that recognises work that addresses issues of gender inequality through the representation of gender in advertising and communications.

Pascal Beucler, Senior Vice President & Chief Strategy Officer at MSLGroup has been selected for the new Lions Entertainment jury, which will review all forms of audio-visual entertainment, live experiences, gaming, sport and talent.

On the Health & Wellness Lions jury the PR industry will be represented by Melyssa Weible, Managing Partner and Co-Founder, Elixir Health PR; Peter Matheson Gay, Executive Creative Director – Health, Weber Shandwick (USA); and Anne de Schweinitz, Global Managing Director – Heathcare, FleishmanHillard Healthcare.


The 2016 PR Lions jury:

John Clinton, Chair, Canada: North American Head of Creative and Content, Edelman (USA)

Almudena Alonso, Managing Director, Cohn & Wolfe (Spain)

Amanda Galmes, Co-Founder & Managing Director, Fuel Communications (Australia)

Barbara Pleban, Co-owner & Vice President, Multi Communications (Poland)

Edson Giusti, Chief Executive Officer, Giusti Communications (Brazil)

Erin Gentry, EVP, Global Co-Lead, Client Services, Hill+Knowlton Strategies (USA)

Hannes Kerstell, Senior Partner & Executive Media Director, Prime – A Weber Shandwick Company (Sweden)

Hanning Kempe, General Managing Director, FleishmanHillard (Germany)

Heidi Holm, Client Service Director & Partner, Dinamo (Norway)

Ingrid Wobst, Chief Executive Officer, Colectivo (Colombia)

Isabel Jorge de Carvalho, Chief Executive Officer – Partner, Global Press (Portugal)

Kat Thomas, Founder / Global Executive Creative Director, One Green Bean (UK)

Kazuaki Hashida, Creative Director, Hakuhodo Kettle (Japan)

Kelly Bennett, Founder & Managing Director, One Plus One Communications (New Zealand)

Laure Miquel-Jean, Head of PR, Pride / TBWA (Belgium)

Leticia Mar, Partner, Alterpraxis (Mexico)

Marion Darrieutort, Chief Executive Officer, Elan Edelman (Finland)

Scott Kronick, President & CEO, Ogilvy Public Relations (Asia Pacific)

Stefania Mercuri, Partner – General Manager, MY PR (Italy)

Valerie Pinto, Chief Executive Officer, Weber Shandwick (India)

Veronica Cheja, CEO & Founder, Urban Communication Group (Argentina)


The full lists of judges are available on the Cannes Lions website.


About ICCO

The International Communications Consultancy Organisation (ICCO) is the voice of public relations consultancies around the world. The ICCO membership comprises national trade associations representing 48 countries across the globe in Europe, Africa, Asia, the Middle East,the Americas and Australia. Collectively, these associations represent some 2,500 PR firms. ICCO is the proud sponsor of the Young Lions PR Competition and The House of PR cabana at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2016.

Winning at Cannes – an Interview with Tom Beckman, Prime PR

Swedish agency Prime has received more Cannes Lions awards than any PR agency since the creation of PR Lions in 2009. Cannes Lions interviews Tom Beckman, Executive Creative Director and Senior Partner of Prime PR, about what it’s like to win and the affect on the agency.

Tell us about the foundations of Prime; where do the agency’s roots lie?

Our origin traces back to American political campaigning in the 90’s. That was probably the real birth of the channel agnostic approach – long before social media or even the internet. To build and activate a universe of communication assets under one common frame story is still a valid principle for us.

What is the philosophy of the agency?

Communications should have a value in itself beyond the product, idea or message its promotion. We try to create value that generates awareness – not create awareness that generates value.

How did you first learn about the Cannes Lions Festival?

The founder of legendary ad agency Forsman Bodenfors took us there. He introduced us to the festival and how to use the insights from the festival to grow our business. And we’ve been there ever since. For our delegates it’s all work and (almost) no play – see all the seminars, look at all the case reels, and bring home the insights.

When did you know you were ready to enter?

We started to compare our work with the best work out there from all agencies, not just PR agencies. And the only way to do that is start building your own case videos. We didn’t know if we were ready when we entered the first time – I guess you must just start somewhere and build from your experiences and learnings.

Tell us about the experience of winning your first Lion.

A shortlist is really a remarkable achievement. In fact – the way I evaluate our performance is the number of shortlists divided by the number of different campaigns entered (not multiple entries of the same campaign). That gives you a good idea of the strength of your agency. To win a Gold – that’s special of course. People don’t realize how big the audience actually is on that stage – it’s insane.

How do you choose the work to enter into Cannes?

Sometimes the clients take the initiative, sometimes it’s the team. Regardless we make sure that the work can represent us and our clients. Entering in the right category is important of course. The fact that a good case fits in a lot of categories proves how integrated the industry is today.

Since first entering in 2010 Prime has been awarded 14 PR Lions alone – what impact has this had on your business?

It has given us access to pitches we didn’t get have before. And going head to head with ad agencies forced us to up our game even more. It has led to more CMO budgets and to a ticket to play on an international arena.

How did winning influence the culture of your team?

It has changed the way clients look at us obviously. But more importantly it has created an internal culture of living up to our own requirements and expectations. We now benchmark with the best – and that’s a painful but rewarding relationship to your own work. It has helped us break free from limiting industry definitions.

What advice would you give PR agencies looking to enter work into PR Lions?

Cannes Lions is about ideas. Make sure your unique idea comes through. And then validate the relevance of that idea through engagement from stakeholders and media. Getting a lot of clippings is not enough – all decent campaigns in Cannes have that. Instead make sure to focus on the problem and the solution – what did you solve and why was it important? And show how the idea came to life and became a part of society or discussion.


If Cannes is an indicator, the future belongs to PR

Written by- Francis Ingham


PR’s reputation on La Croisette is growing, so now it’s time we took on the ad agencies.

No word carries such mystique in the PR world as ‘Cannes’. It conjures images of rosé wine; helicopters from Nice; yachts; topless sunbathing; and random celebs making tangential points about the merits of their clients’ products. And like all great myths, that parody contains some truth.

But having been here with ICCO for the second year, I also know Cannes is so much more than that. Sure, the location is meant to entice. There are plenty of advertising execs. And Kim Kardashian had a moment when her yacht wouldn’t fit into Cannes harbour for her to convey the groundbreaking observation of ‘maybe I tweet too many selfies in a bikini’. But Cannes does represent and celebrate the extraordinary creativity of the PR industry. So, what lessons did I draw?

– PR is flourishing. Our industry won many more awards this time. MSL should be proud of its #LikeAGirl campaign – pride confirmed in victory.

– PR is here in greater numbers than ever – I bumped into dozens of agency heads, many here for the first time.

– PR is truly international. Judging by the Cannes badges, this year there were many more countries there.

– PR’s future is assured. ICCO ran and made possible the Young Lions programme, celebrating young PR. And the ideas generated were astonishing in their breadth and sophistication.

– PR is growing globally. We like to think of the UK and US as world leaders – they are. But the Young Lions’ gold went to Sweden. The silver and bronze to Columbia and China respectively.

But the main point is this – PR represents the future; advertising the past. When PR first came to Cannes it was the poor relation. Poor in numbers; weak in submission content; disappointed in such a small number of wins. Today? It’s the thrusting, entrepreneurial member of the family, with the best ideas. Winning more business. Looked on with envy by – yes – its more cumbersome, less imaginative relations in advertising.

Of course, not everything is rosé (get it?). Too many people think they can’t win here, so they don’t enter. Our production values and the presentation of our content still need to improve. And we need to grab some of that advertising industry arrogance – the confidence to bid for big budgets and then spend them. In a straight fight, advertising still plans a little better; does creativity a little better. And yet…

The key attributes the judges looked for were excellence in campaign design and delivery. And the ability to link commercial purpose with wider social change. I’ve no doubt that those metrics are ones on which PR can happily base its future.

The agency bosses I met this week recognised the challenges, but were incredibly positive about addressing them. They were proud to represent their industry, and optimistic about its future. Representing the PRCA, now the UK’s biggest professional body, and ICCO, the largest international one, I felt the same. If Cannes is anything to go by, the future belongs to PR.

Original article from PRWeek