One casualty of the ad recession: the diversity of nations represented in the shortlist for the Cannes Cyber Lion awards. The decrease is due to a nearly 20 percent drop in the number of nations submitting digital work.
The list, released this morning, represents what the Cyber Lion jury considers to be the best work submitted by agencies around the world. Whereas 2008’s list contained work from 30 countries, this year that number is 22.
Entries from the U.S. dropped only slightly, from 60 to 55, despite the fact that the U.S. submitted far fewer total entries — 453 this year compared to 600 last year. Crispin, Porter + Bogusky was the most nominated U.S. agency, with 10 recognitions for work on behalf of Burger King, Volkswagen, Coke Zero, and the Alliance for Climate Protection. The agency’s “Whopper Sacrifice” Facebook app is widely favored to win a Grand Prix tomorrow.
Some countries that previously made strong showings nearly dropped off the list. Brazil had 36 nominations on the list in 2008, and only eight this year, including DDB Brazil’s “Endless Sunrise” for Johnson & Johnson. Nominations for France dwindled from eight last year to just two this year.
Meanwhile the U.K. nabbed 28 entries, down from 44 last year. The Viral Factory was the most-nominated agency there, for Diesel’s “Diesel XXX,” Samsung’s “extreme sheep LED art” and Skype’s “unboxing” and “laughter chain.” AKQA carried six nominations in the U.S. and U.K., including Fiat’s “Eco:Drive” and Nike’s “Bootcamp.”
Eight countries that made the shortlist last year but failed to do so this year are Turkey, Chinese Taipei, Poland, Malaysia, Uruguay, Hong Kong, and Korea. By contrast, only one country, Russia, was left off last year’s list but appears in 2009.
The shrinking diversity of the award pool is largely explained by a drop in the total number of Cyber entries, which fell by 506, or almost 20 percent, to 2,205. It was the first decline since 2003, when the dot-com bust reached its peak.
The homogenization of entries this year may be sapping Cannes of some of the energy brought to it by little known shops in smaller, developing nations.
“That emerging area that was really interesting last year has dropped off,” said Conor Brady, chief creative officer at Organic. “It’s sort of disappointing.”
Delegates attending the event also make up a less diverse crowd than they have in past years, according to some revelers. Many agency networks sent only a handful of people, according to a German attendee — often senior management based in the U.S. That’s a sore point for long-time employees at satellite offices, some of whom feel they’ve been ignored as U.S.-based agencies bestow favor on homeland campaigns and staffers.
The Cyber Lion winners will be announced tomorrow night, along with the Interactive Agency of the Year and the Young Lions Cyber winners.
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