A Cub’s View of Cannes: UK Young Media Lions

This year our very own Chris Mitchell and James Reeves headed to Cannes to take part in the highly prestigious international Young Lions competition, representing the UK to compete against some of the best of the best to solve a live 24-hour brief. Here’s what they had to say about the experience.

Cannes Lions 2016 has for us, UK Young Media Lions, come full circle. At noon on Friday the UN Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon was joined on stage by the CEOs of the “big six” communications groups, to announce a new initiative called “Common Ground” in support of the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Of all the 17 sustainable development goals, Omnicom Media Group has chosen to focus on education. Somewhat coincidentally it was with a focus on this particular goal that our week began as we were briefed competing with 42 other nations to tackle the challenge of education for the most vulnerable within 24 hours.

Despite having tackled a British Red Cross brief on the subject of the European refugee crisis to be awarded UK winners, we remained daunted by the scale of the brief. However, in equal measure we were also excited as the inspirational environment of Cannes was quickly teaching us media can save lives, as well as sell, entertain and inform.

We unfortunately didn’t win but, upon reflection, there was much to take from the process of competing;

  • When faced with something we know the least about we are forced to be the most curious and seek out new information. Regardless of arriving an award worthy answer or not, this process of seeking new information as means to an answer will always be beneficial.
  • Deadlines limit the luxury of dwelling, force you to be direct and trust yourself.
  • When you think there is nothing there will be something. With some seriously asserted effort you are forced to think laterally, ask why with more force and connect dots that weren’t initially obvious.
  • Good ideas can crop up from any source at any time, but practising the process of idea generation will increase the propensity for great and help you identify which path to take along the way.
  • And of course, never forget to enjoy it. It is our job to be creative and there is nothing more fun than that.


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