WPP pulls out of Eurobest, calling it an 'expensive distraction', while also threatening to abandon Cannes Lions

WPP threatens to abandon Cannes Lions citing it as an 'expensive distraction'

WPP has confirmed it will not participate in the Eurobest festival later this year and said its participation in the Cannes Lions festival is also under the microscope, following the landmark decision of rival holding company Publicis Groupe to pull out.

WPP's worldwide creative director, John O' Keefe referred to Eurobest as an "expensive distraction" and said that it "delivers no real credibility to us, nor does it much impress our clients" according to internal emails seen by Adweek.

The email said that the final decision on Cannes Lions will rest on a meeting where WPP's chief executive Sir Martin Sorrell and O’Keefe will meet the chief executive of festival organisers Ascential, Duncan Painter, to put forth certain conditions for its continued participation.

O’Keefe wrote in the email: "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.”

Sorrell had previously stated that "the jury is out" when questioned about decision to stick with Cannes Lions earlier follwoing Publicis chief Arthur Sadoun's decision to pause activity for a year.

The Drum spoke with Cannes Lions managing director Jose Papa earlier this year who responded to the WPP and Publicis threats, saying that there were lot of misconceptions about the expenses.

Cannes Lions also launched a committee to help shape festival's future.

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