Leaked emails revealed a decision to walk away from the event rests with talks between senior WPP executives will have with Cannes Lions parent company Ascential early next month. The emails also make clear that WPP plans to withdraw from Eurobest entirely.
WPP also spelled out that its agencies must withdraw all involvement with European awards show, Eurobest, also run by Ascential and which takes place during November in London.
The internal email chain, obtained by AdWeek, lay bare WPP’s contempt for Eurobest and reveals a “final decision” on Cannes rests on discussions with Ascential chief executive Duncan Painter.
It is unclear what concessions Cannes Lions needs to make to ensure the company’s continued participation although a more streamlined show is certainly among WPP’s demands.
“Final decisions on WPP and Cannes will await the result of a meeting Martin and I have with Duncan Painter in a couple of weeks time,” wrote WPP worldwide creative director John O’Keefe. “But already we are seeing moves in the right direction: categories are being reduced by 120, there will be a refocusing on creativity, and there is talk of cutting the overall length of the festival.”
The message reportedly went to WPP executives last Friday. WPP has insisted that Cannes streamline the entirety of the weeklong experience in the interest of cutting costs.
WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell has previously spoken of the firm’s uneasy relationship with Cannes and questioned whether the festival truly reflects the creative qualities of the industry.
“The importance of recognising the outstanding creativity of our people and the work they do for clients is not in doubt,” Sorrell has said. The question is whether the festival does that in the most effective way, and we look forward to playing our part in finding the best solution.”
Earlier, WPP agencies have offered jurors and keynote speakers to Eurobest 2017 and 117 entries and it seems WPP CEO Martin Sorrell has asked worldwide creative director John O’Keefe to cancel all entrees and attendees.