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Cannes Day Two: Young Lions stars of tomorrow tackle marketing brief

by | Jun 20, 2019

How to get girls’ education and literacy on the global agenda – that was the problem facing 27 teams in the Cannes Young Lions Marketers competition

I’m was in Cannes all last week to debrief all the entrants in the hugely popular Young Lions contests that are taking place. For each contest entrants have just 24 hours to tackle a brief before reporting back to myself and the judges. Here’s what happened when the young marketers which included teams from Tesco, Calvin Klein and Tesco got their hands dirty…

Young Lions 2019 Marketers competition

The brief (as provided by Room to Read, a nonprofit supporting girls’ education and literacy):

“We want you to create a marketing campaign using your brand knowledge and perspective that starts a conversation around education being a key pillar to solving global problems. This campaign should put Room to Read at the heart of this conversation and drive toward the 2024 goal of reaching 40 million children. It also should encourage supporters to donate to the Innovation and Sustainability Fund.”

Here’s the Marketers brief in full. The judges for this category were Hilary McKean, President, Marketing and Complementary Businesses at Ketchum, Manuela Muñoz, Corporate Communications Manager, Latin America, Netflix and Rita Gorenberg, Associate Director, Brand Engagement at The Clorox Company. Hilary and Rita shared their thoughts with the assembled Young Lions.

The winners:

Bronze: Team South Korea

Based around a proposed partnership with their company KaKao, South Korea’s main mobile messaging app, Team South Korea worked to make the invisible, visible creating a new emoji – an extremely popular form of communication in their market.

Team members: Sol Yoon and Tae Jin Hwang of KaKao Corp.

Silver: Team Puerto Rico

Team Puerto Rico’s “Read This Whopper” idea was to team up with Burger King and put children’s stories, written by local authors, into the hands of millions by printing them on burger wrappers. There was a twist – by printing the stories in a language that would not be familiar to the native audience, burger-eaters would need to visit the Room to Read website for a translation of the story and to find out more about the organisation and its work.

The judges said that this was an interesting and unusual moment of dispruption to make people think about this important issue. They also said it brought the stories to life by making the person eating the Whopper experience a moment of discomfort when they were unable to read the message.

Team members: Bianca Martinez of Caribbean Restaurants LLC (Burger King) and María Eugenia Ramirez of Puerto Rico Supplies Group.

Gold: Team Belgium

Team Belgium built their campaign around a proposed tie-in with Calvin Klein, a globally-recognised brand with lots of clout among young women in particular. The model on the left has the words ‘Action’, ‘Assertive’, ‘Ambitious’ and ‘Accomplish’ on her bra, which links in with the hashtag #giveheraCUPleofletters (give her a couple of letters).
The judges said that this idea pipped the others to the post because it was unexpected, and built on current cultural debate and discussion around female empowerment to communicate the literacy issue.

Team members: Noëmie Haverhals of Avail NV and Dilan Sakar of PVH Belux.

Overall there were some interesting insights from the jury about how to cut through and win a Lions.

  1. If you are presenting to a global brand, even if you are making it local, consider whether it will cross-borders.
  2. Is it do-able?
  3. Is it scaleable?
  4. The difference between making bronze, silver and gold can be paper thin, and the small nuances can make the difference
  5. Be single-minded

The battle between the evidence, rational based decisions and the unconcious was highlighted by this quote from Hilary McKean:

“Why did they win gold? The winning campaign rocked us back in our seats, we had an emotional reaction that got us in our gut. It’s also about how you package and sell the work in your 5 minute pitch.”

Still to come: Young Lions competitions for PR, Design, Digital, Film and more!

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