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Cannes Lions Festival selects Hill & Knowlton as first PR partner


LONDON — Hill & Knowlton, which has pioneered the PR industry’s involvement at the annual Cannes Lions Festival, is to become its first ever PR partner.

The week-long Festival, founded in 1954, has traditionally been an advertising dominated event but has recently expanded to include other communications disciplines including PR in 2009.

“This is a great honour”, said Tony Burgess-Webb, chief marketing officer of Hill & Knowlton. “Creativity is fundamental to effective communications and Cannes Lions is the epi-centre for creativity in communications. By getting actively involved, we have tried to set a lead for the PR industry worldwide.”

In 2009, the first year for PR award entries, H&K hosted its first PR seminar and first ever Cannes Lions ‘tweet-up‘ with Biz Stone, co-founder of Twitter to highlight the importance of social media. In 2010, H&K hosted another PR seminar with ImprovEverywhere and created a street event, a spoof ‘VIP Party’ gently satirising Cannes Lions’ VIP party culture*. H&K also created a dedicated videoblog called Cannes Eye, webcasting two editions daily of interviews with leaders and CMO’s from brands such as Kraft, J&J and Procter & Gamble.

Festival CEO, Phil Thomas said: “Cannes Lions has evolved way beyond pure advertising and creative PR is key to what brands want. H&K understood this very early on and have shown real leadership. We are pleased to recognise this by making them our first ever Official PR Partner".

The Cannes Lions Festival is the world’s only truly global meeting place for professionals in the communications industry. In 2010 over 8,000 delegates from 95 countries attended seven days of exhibitions, screenings, as well as over 50 high-profile seminars, 30 workshops and master classes presented by renowned worldwide industry leaders.

*Cannes Lions’ Most Exclusive Party
One of the traditional aspects of Cannes Lions is the many parties. These take place every night and they are organised by the Cannes Lions people themselves and by agencies, media and others. They are, by their nature, exclusive and many are restricted to VIP’s only. Who is on which exclusive list – and trying to get on the list – is an annual game. We decided to parody this by creating a super exclusive ‘party’ inside a 4m x 4m square roped off area on the paved area right in front of the main auditorium and just when thousands of delegates were coming from the awards – and heading off to their parties. A max of 30 guests were allowed in and danced ‘silent disco style’ to the mini mp3 players provided. A ‘bar’ served ‘drinks’ in glow stick martini glasses.

58th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, 19-25 June 2011, Cannes, France
The International Festival of Creativity - Cannes Lions - is the world’s leading celebration of creativity in communications. As the most prestigious international annual advertising awards, over 24,000 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. Winning companies receive the highly coveted Lion trophy honouring the most creative film, print, outdoor, interactive, radio, film craft, design, sales promotion & activation and integrated advertising, as well as the best media, direct marketing, PR, titanium and creative effectiveness ideas. The Festival is also the only truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. Over 8,000 delegates from 95 countries attend seven days of exhibitions, screenings, as well as over 50 high-profile seminars, 30 workshops and master classes presented by renowned worldwide industry leaders. As the networking and learning opportunity of the year, Cannes Lions is the must-attend event for anyone involved in brand communication.

About Hill & Knowlton (
Hill & Knowlton, Inc. is a leading international communications consultancy, providing services to local, multinational and global clients. The firm is headquartered in New York, with 79 offices in 44 countries, as well as an extensive associate network. The agency is part of WPP, one of the world’s largest communications services groups.


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