For Cannes Holding Company Of The Year, Size Counts

Every year about this time there is grumbling in the post-Cannes recovery period about how some of the award competitions are stacked in favor of the biggest entities -- like WPP -- which repeated as Holding Company of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.

A preliminary tally puts the company’s total medal count at 389 Lions, including 2 Titanium Lions, 4 Grand Prix Awards and 55 Gold Lions.

Some suggest that to level the playing field for smaller players it might be fairer to consider in the judging process the percentage of total submissions by a company that actually win something versus just a straight-up tally. It doesn’t work that way but sources noted that at one session at this year’s Festival, data, analytics and digital insights firm Decoded made a presentation that looked at 2013 results using a percentage-of-submissions-that-won formula. And Interpublic Group came out on top.

Others suggest that quality of wins should be accounted for in a greater way, perhaps giving more weight to Grand Prix and Gold Lions. For instance, Omnicom had 357 total Lions, which was 32 fewer than WPP. But Omnicom had more Grand Prix (9)—thanks in large part to Agency of the Year adamandeveDDB -- and more gold (60).

Meanwhile, WPP CEO Sir Martin Sorrell suggested that focus was the key to the holding company’s success this year, and he couldn’t help taking another swipe at certain competitors (Publicis and Omnicom) who by implication were not focused. Said Sorrell: “Over the last 12 months there have been a few distractions for some in the industry, so it’s good to focus on the core of our business: brilliant work for clients.”

A preliminary count for Publicis Groupe shows that it won a total of 204 Lions, including a Grand Prix and 30 Gold Lions. IPG won 186 in total, including 3 Grand Prix and 26 Gold. Dentsu Group was awarded 34 Lions, including 1 Titanium Grand Prix and 10 Gold. Havas Group took home 30 Lions, including a Grand Prix and 3 Gold and MDC won 12 in total including 2 Gold.

Among advertisers Unilever won the most Lions, with 26 total including 8 Gold Lions.

The complete list of winners can be found here.

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