Earlier this week WPP announced in a COVID-19 and business update that it would not participate in award shows this year as part of a broader cost-cutting initiative in response to the economic mayhem being wrought by the pandemic.
WPP didn’t mention the Cannes Lions festival specifically, and it declined to comment further on the matter.
But sources told Campaign in a published report earlier today that both WPP and Omnicom have pulled out of the festival while the other holding companies have not made final decisions about participating this year.
Omnicom declined to comment on Campaign’s report.
Dentsu has put forth the idea of a virtual Cannes Lions showcase this year.
Cannes Lions told Campaign it had nothing new to add to its previous announcement that the festival has been rescheduled for October.
"As we announced on March 18, we took the decision to postpone the festival with the support of our major customers," a rep for the festival stated. "We are now working with these customers to plan for the October event.”
And to that I say, with all sincerity, good luck. I really do hope the festival can be pulled off, even if it has to be rescheduled for December. A big problem, of course, is predicting how this pandemic will play out. In many places, it hasn’t yet hit full stride.
But wouldn’t it be great if the industry could come together toward the end of this strange and brutal year, battered terribly but unbowed, to celebrate the industry’s creativity and resilience in the face of extreme adversity?
I think that would be a great way to end the year.