The year-long hype for the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival, the ad industry's annual bout of narcissism in the sun, reached cruising altitude this weekend, three weeks ahead of the opening event on June 19.

Awards entries for the 2005 event have soared to an all-time high of 22,101, an overall increase of 18% versus last year. Excluding the two new categories, the Radio and Titanium Lions, the increase is 12%. The latter category will honour integrated campaigns - marketing's current (if somewhat hoary) flavour of the month.

Inevitably, the world's largest economy tops the list of national entries with 3,046 contenders, followed by Germany with 2,313 and Brazil with 2,198. Of the two new categories, radio attracted 1,020 entries; while Titanium's appeal was limited to just 133 hopefuls.

Old faithful categories include TV/cinema, print, outdoor, online, radio and integrated advertising, as well as the best media and direct marketing solutions.

Lachlan Murdoch (33), deputy chief operating officer of News Corporation and son of the more famous Rupert, will be honoured at the megabash as 'Media Person of the Year', while Sony Corporation's Playstation will be crowned 'Advertiser of the Year'.

The festival will run from June 19-25.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff