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UK Advertising celebrates award haul at Cannes Lions 2021

Advertising Association

4 min read Partner content

UK Government & Industry Partner for Virtual Roadshow in Export Showcase to International Markets

The UK won 135 awards at last week’s Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in an impressive display of the creativity and expertise which are the hallmarks of the British advertising industry. 46 UK advertising and marketing services companies won 135 awards which placed the UK as Europe’s leading winning territory and the second highest performing in the world behind the United States. UK agencies took home an incredible 11 Grands Prix at this year's Cannes Lions – 11 more than at the last International Festival of Creativity in 2019, and four more than in 2018. Abbott Mead Vickers BBDO was the most awarded advertising agency and London-based agency AMV BBDO picked up the coveted Agency of the Festival award.

In order to build on the UK success at Cannes Lions, the UK Government and advertising industry have partnered to create a special online venue, UK House, which will feature networking and lead generation events for six months from July 8th, celebrating the very best of UK creativity as awarded by Cannes Lions. The UK House programme will feature trends from Cannes Lions Live 2021 alongside sessions from UK Lions winners and jurors, workshops and masterclasses on exporting creative services. In addition, the UK Advertising Export Group (UKAEG) will host four virtual trade missions including 10+ networking sessions with regions such as China, Africa, North and South America. 

The goal of UKAEG through UK House is to provide more British businesses than ever with the chance to promote their services and to meet with potential international partners and buyers and to build on the outstanding success of British advertising at Cannes 2021.

These results demonstrate the strength of UK advertising at a time when it is set to recover strongly following the downturn caused by the global pandemic. The latest Advertising Association/WARC Expenditure Report, the only source to collect advertising revenue data across the entire media landscape, forecasts UK adspend will grow by 15.2% in 2021 to reach a total of £27.0bn. This will recover the entirety of 2020’s £1.8bn decline and is expected to precede a 7.2% rise in 2022, by when the market will be worth a record £29.0bn.

Ancillary forecasts suggest the UK is on course to achieve the strongest ad trade recovery of any major global market this year. This will also build on the existing strength of the UK as an exporter of advertising and marketing services, which grew 7% year-on-year to reach a new record level of £11bn in 2019 - the last year for which the official figures from the Office for National Statistics’ (ONS) are available.

Janet Hull OBE, Chair, UKAEG, Lead CIC CreaTech, and IPA Director of Marketing Strategy, commented:

“Cannes Lions is widely regarded as the Olympics of Creativity and I am delighted that the UK has performed so strongly in such a talented field of global competitors. We already knew that British advertising and marketing services were the best in the world, but seeing such a large number of wins gives our industry an added seal of approval. Looking ahead, we must now build further on this success and our ambitious plans for the UK House will act as a forum for sharing learnings from Cannes with businesses right across Britain, while at the same time supporting the aims of the UK Government’s GREAT campaign to sell British creativity and ingenuity on the world stage.

Lord Grimstone, Minister for Investment, Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy, commented:

“UK businesses are known across the world for their creativity and innovation, and I am proud our advertising industry has been recognised for its embodiment of these values at this year’s Cannes Lions festival.

“The impressive array of awards in the face of strong competition is a testament to the resilience of the industry, which has continued to deliver outstanding content throughout the pandemic. I look forward to seeing advertising businesses across the UK continue to thrive as we build back better.”

Graham Stuart MP, Exports Minister, Department for International Trade, said:

“It is wonderful to see the UK continuing its phenomenal success within the advertising industry, and our companies will thrive even more as we negotiate further trade deals around the world. Following the unprecedented support we have provided to businesses throughout the pandemic, it is particularly heartening to see that the British advertising sector is set to recover so strongly.”

DCMS Culture Minister Caroline Dinenage said:

“I’m delighted to once again see the great success of the UK’s creative industries recognised at Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Our brilliant advertising industry is something to be proud of and will continue to make important contributions to our economy as we build back better from the pandemic.”



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