Creative arithmetic causes row over who came second at Cannes

Having a laugh?

Levy: Having a laugh?

An amusing spat has broken out between two ad giants over who has won the most awards at Cannes this year. Well, not won exactly – because we know that Omnicom was the runaway winner for the second year in a row. No, this – believe it or not – is about who had the honour of coming second.

Publicis was first on the draw, with a press release proudly trumpeting its own success with 101 “total statues” (as they say in the trade). Just like last year, when it also claimed to come second with, er, 101 statues.

Not so, says WPP indignantly. The facts are Publicis only got (by WPP calculations) 95, which places it way behind WPP, with 107; WPP also came second last year, with 107 statues versus Publicis’ claimed 101.

So incensed is WPP’s Sir Martin Sorrell that he has fired off an email to his opposite number at Publicis, Maurice Levy. I think it’s worth quoting in full:

“I know we all like a bit of hyperbole – but the Cannes Lions press release you have just issued takes the biscuit! The facts are that for the last two years, at least, Publicis has come third at Cannes with regard to the total number of Lions won.

This year WPP won 107 lions and according to our calculations, Publicis won 95 – although your press release claims 101. Last year, WPP won 104 Lions and your website confirms 101. We cannot find the calculation for the previous year.

Strange arithmetic, therefore. Would you like to publish a correction, for the sake of accuracy? Please take a look at our website if you are confused.”

I have yet to discover Levy’s response. But I hope when it comes it does not involve challenging Sir Martin to a duel in order to salve wounded Gallic honour.

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2 Responses to Creative arithmetic causes row over who came second at Cannes

  1. […] public dialogue between the two involving, among other things, Sorrell accusing Levy of creative arithmetic and Levy telling Sorrell to mind his margins. Even so,  the “little Englishman trying to […]

  2. […] what’s the form? Well, last year both WPP and Publicis proclaimed they were the winner, which led to some acrimonious email correspondence between their two chiefs, Sir Martin Sorrell […]

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