Pride in our US Cannes Young Lions

23rd May 2016 | Posted by Jim Joseph Jim Joseph's picture

Today, the PR Council announces the team that we will be sending to Cannes next month to represent the United States in the International Cannes Young Lions competition. In essence, the Young Lions celebrates and rewards young talent, highlighting the future of our industry in the process. Every segment of marketing has its own competition, including Advertising, Media and – of course – Public Relations, with countries from all over the world selecting its best of the best for the International finals.

It was my great honor to chair the judging for the US this year, and I am so excited for the team to be announced, and to follow them on their journey to Cannes.
 
When I arrived for the judging a couple of weeks ago, I have to admit that I wasn’t sure what to expect. I wasn’t sure about the level of professionalism, preparedness and creative programming that I’d be judging. This is young talent, after all, so they couldn’t possibly have that much experience under their belts quite yet.
 
I was blown away…not only by the professionalism and the preparedness, but also by the sheer amount of hours the teams had put into developing their entries.
 
Each group started with research. They didn’t just take the information the “client” had given them and run with it. They sought to learn more about the target audience (in this case, millennial men and women) and how the promoted brand (a children’s charity) could fit into their targets’ lives. The stated goal was to drive brand engagement and donations, but the teams didn’t jump to conclusions without doing their marketing homework first. They all followed a rigorous development process, which was incredibly impressive.
 
They each created a careful trail of logic from data to insight to strategy to ideas. So when the programs were complete, they made sense. Each program worked because it was linked to an insight about the target audience that could motivate engagement with the charity.
 
I was amazed!
 
A few years ago, the greater communications industry assumed that this kind of work could only come from an advertising team. It was assumed that the brand planners at “creative agencies” were the only ones that could do this kind of strategic work. Big thinking was left to the strategists and creatives, while PR work was assumed to be more tactical.
 
Not anymore! Those perceptions and assumptions are long outdated, and if there was ever a need for proof, look no further than at the US Young Lions contenders.
 
These folks are researchers, insight gatherers, strategists, creatives and, yes, marketers. They are the future of our industry and the future has never been brighter (said with shades).
 
Now, let’s watch them go win at Cannes!

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