Cannes Lions Revamps Rules For Media Agency Competition

The Cannes Lions organization has renamed its Media Agency of the Year award and has revamped the eligibility and entry requirements for competing shops.

The accolade is now called the Media Network of the Year and is awarded to the media agency network that obtains the highest score for entries in the Media Lions section. Only media agencies are eligible to compete in this award.

The changes came after a rules review that was triggered after last year’s Cannes Lions festival when controversy erupted over the final Lion tally claimed by WPP’s GroupM. The media holding company said it won a total of 45 awards. That claim could only be made after going back to roughly 30 of the entrant agencies, after the awards were issued, to request that GroupM shops be listed on the submission form for credit. 

Omnicom Media Group, in turn, cried foul, charging that GroupM claimed credit for awards not certified by the Cannes Lions organization. OMG also asserted that the WPP companies abused the amendment policy, which OMG claimed was designed for the occasional omission, not 30 of them. GroupM “decided to rewrite history after the event,” charged OMD global CEO Mainardo de Nardis at the time.

Nevertheless, GroupM received credit for the 45 awards per the rules in effect last year.

Now, however, Cannes has ruled that entrants can’t be listed after the fact.

“Checks will be made to ensure entries are credited correctly and missing information will be requested before the entry can be processed,” the new rules state. “Before the Festival begins, senior media agency network representatives will be invited to view the Media Lions entries listings and confirm that they are correctly credited.”

The organization has also ruled that “only the information submitted on the original entry forms in the media agency fields, or amendments received and confirmed by the entrant company up to the beginning of judging (June 10 2014) will be considered in the Media Network of the Year calculations.”  

Also, “no amendments or additions to company names will be made after June 10 2014. Any advertising agency submitting an entry to Media Lions where the services of an external media agency were used MUST credit that media agency in the entry submission.”

This year’s festival runs from June 15-21.

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