Young Lions, that's the Cannes part for the juniors. All advertising professionals up to 28 years old in teams of two compete against each other in various categories, print, media, cyber and the most prestigious film. The film category works as follows, the teams have two days and two Nokia phones (great sponsoring really) to create 30-60 second ads. This years brief was MTV Switch, show that saving energy/being green can be fun and doesn't have to include consuming – that's me paraphrasing it, don't hang on to it too much. So the team from Argentina won gold, the US guys silver and the Italian team bronze. The Argentinean idea was the best hands down, so simple, it's funny if you see all the other teams staging big shoots with props and they just get a couple of people in the shower. Have a look.
Check out the Young Lions youtube stuff, there's lots of it.
It's also fun to have a look through the videos to see how the different creative teams are getting on, how they worked on the briefs and how they filmed their spots. The serious Austrians working only drinking water, the Brazilians having an actual event idea rather than an ad, the danish guys changing their idea at the last minute, the Japanese going hardcore on their storyboards while the UK girls sip cocktails while looking for inspiration and hating on technology.
Speaking of whom – the British didn't do well in any of the categories. In fact in the whole young lions history they never won. Why? They seem to do well in europe, but not on a international stage? In the UK (well, London) young creatives seem to be forced to focus on strategies, big ideas, that's what you have to put in your portfolio to get you a job, right? What about crafting stuff? Actually making and doing stuff, films, products, whatever. Art directing print ads for example – UK creatives don't learn design/executional skills, it's all about ideas & scamps. In all other countries every art director has to be sharp on the mac if they want to get hired. Here advertising students talk of mac monkeys who do their stuff up, relying on designers and art workers who can be afforded with the big budgets. One of the points Tony Davidson cared about during our chat was the lack of creatives actually bringing their ideas to life. 'Everyone can have ideas', he says, 'but actually making them is where they stop at and rely on others, so lots of good stuff never gets made.' (I'm paraphrising again, it just looks more credible as a quote I reckon). This explains why they hired a great team a while ago, product designers Tom & David. Of course they have ideas, but they actually realise them. I'd call them Creative Artisans, a term coined by Julien, my former flatmate. Is that the way forward?
This Young Lions outcome predicts yes, creatives need to know more than pencil and paper. And this contest is a great one. It's something we could be judging countries creatively on. Unlike the 'real' Cannes Lions all teams have equal resources, no glamorous directors, no designers nor typographers, no scam ads just for the sake of awards, no clients, only the creative outcome counts on this one. Idea is still everything, but without execution it's nothing.