Thought Leadership

106 Lions on a shirt

The UK advertising industry launches a campaign celebrating UK creativity at Cannes

Nicola Kemp

Editorial Director Creativebrief


A new campaign from the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) celebrates the number of UK wins at Cannes Lions last year, through the lens of the Euros.

Created by VCCP, the outdoor execution features a football shirt with ‘106 Lions on a shirt’ to represent the number of Lions picked up by UK agencies at Cannes last year. A number which UK agencies will be hoping to top this year.

The poster will sit on a digital out of home screen outside the Cannes Lions award show venue, Le Palais des Festivals et des Congrès de Cannes, throughout the week of the festival. It will also be supported by a social media campaign.

Aisling Conlon, International Trade Director for UK Advertising, Advertising Association, explained: “The UK has a rich history and a strong global reputation for creativity, consistently reflected in our podium presence at the Cannes Lions Awards each year. In a week celebrating global creativity, we've harnessed the competitive spirit of the awards stage and infused it with UK humour.”

She continued: “Known for our bold ideas and world-class creative storytelling, we are echoing the hopeful sentiment of England fans chanting 'It's coming home' with our campaign to celebrate the UK's long standing record of creativity excellence in a memorable and standout manner.”

Julian Douglas, Co-CEO at VCCP and Chairman of UKAEG, added: “The latest export figures show that the UK are kings of Europe when it comes to advertising. We’ve also got a trophy cabinet that’s packed full of Lions, recognising the creative achievements of our current golden generation. Let’s see if we can bring a few more home this summer.”

The business of creativity

The campaign is just one of the ways the UK Advertising Exports Group (UKAEG) is highlighting the power of UK creativity.

The group will be continuing to advance the UK’s ambitions as an export powerhouse at this week’s Cannes Lions with over 30 events planned under the ‘Business of Creativity’ programme, designed to help unlock growth opportunities. UKAEG is supported by over fifty members from across the industry, the Advertising Association, APA, BPMA, and the IPA.

New UK advertising export figures, published today at Cannes Lions, show a 15% increase, with exports to reach £18bn in 2023. A figure which is four times higher than the equivalent figure published a decade ago.

Stephen Woodford, CEO of the Advertising Association, explained: “The UK has a world-leading reputation for advertising creativity, strategy and effectiveness and is the second largest exporter of advertising services globally, showing continued strong growth in 2023. Our UKAEG industry alliance goes from strength to strength and we look forward to working in partnership with the industry and the next UK government, to support a second decade of higher growth.”

The advertising industry is second only to the hairdressing industry when it comes to the sheer number of awards shows recognising and rewarding the work and the people making it.

Cannes Lions received 26,753 entries for its 2024 awards, which was marginally down versus a year earlier. Entry numbers declined less than 1% compared to 26,992 in 2023 and were about 5% ahead of the 25,464 received in 2022, the first in-person festival after the pandemic.

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Cannes Creativity