'Purpose' behind P&G’s Cannes clean-up says Brand Union boss on final #BrandsinCannes result

P&G was the most awarded brand at the Cannes Lions festival, an accolade Brand Union's global CEO Toby Southgate said is all down to brand purpose being at the heart of all its advertising.

The FMCG-giant walked away with four Grand Prix awards alongside 10 gold, eight silver, and 19 bronze awards. The awards were pulled together by Brand Union's #BrandsinCannes tracker which was launched this year to applaud the often forgotten clients at the week-long industry back-patting event.

“Procter & Gamble topping the table may not be a surprise: it buys more advertising than anyone else in the world (though it only scraped last year’s top 10 #BrandsinCannes). But this was no carpet-bombing exercise and it tops this year’s list as a result of two (different) Grand Prix winning campaigns for femcare brands,” said Toby Southgate, worldwide CEO, Brand Union

Leo Burnett’s ‘Like a Girl’ work for Always topped the PR Lions category while Whisper's ‘Touch the Pickle from BBDO India won the Glass Lion Grand Prix award. BBDO India also won a Glass Lion its ‘Share the Load’ work for Ariel (another P&G brand).

“Brand purpose is not new of course – it’s a key component of contemporary brand strategy, most eloquently validated in Milward Brown Vermeer’s Marketing 2020 work. But this year’s results show that as well as being a pillar for driving commercial value and brand equity, it clearly enables and inspires the world’s best creative work too” Southgate added.

He went on to say what struck him most about all about the final results was the “huge” impact of the new Glass category – the Lion established to recognise issues of gender inequality and prejudice.

“In other words, brands and communications focusing on addressing, elevating and celebrating organisations that strive to address perhaps the highest order purpose or cause of them all,” he said

“I predicted early in the week that entries in the Glass category next year will accelerate. After this showing and their significant impact on the overall event, it should become a pillar for Cannes for years to come. The wonderful Cindy Gallop asked whether Glass could become the ‘Lion for Change’. We certainly hope so.”

Meanwhile, other brands to end Cannes on a high included Samsung, which walked away with one Grand Prix, five gold, seven silver, and 10 bronze awards.

Volvo came third with four Grand Prix wins, two gold, six silver and three bronze awards.

Last week, Southgate told The Drum that the #BrandsinCannes tracker was launched to remind people that “award winning work doesn’t just emerge from the ether. It is sponsored by clients who embrace creativity.”

“Behind each award-winner there’s a strategy, and an equally brave client that ultimately signs off the idea. We believe the brands deserve more recognition for the risks they take, and the creativity they enable,” he said.

Brand Union is now plotting how it will use the tracker across other events beyond Cannes Lions.

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