Young Creatives Sweat over Illiteracy

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Sweden's Gold-winning effort.
A simple fingerprint was worth Gold at the 2005 Young Creatives Competition at Cannes, during which about 400 art directors and copywriters 28-years-old and under were in creative lockdown for 24 hours on Sunday creating print ads and, if they so opted, another 24 on Monday crafting cyber advertising for UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization). The judges, comprised of the Press, Outdoor and Cyber Lions juries, decided on the winners Tuesday morning, awarding the Press Gold to a Swedish trio from Forsman & Bodenfors, 28-year-old art directors Karin Frisell, John Bergdahl, and Lars Jansson, who created a spare black and white ad adorned with large print and the tag “Ink should be used for writing.” The competition brief was to motivate a target audience of 16- to 24-year-olds lacking formal education to improve their futures by seeking out opportunities to develop their literacy, language and mathematical skills. The contest, founded in 1995, always centers around a charitable cause and this year hosted young creatives from 40 countries.

“The pen is mightier than the sword,” was the jumping point for the Gold-winning idea, says Jansson, also an interactive creative. “We started out talking about that good old metaphor, about the power of the written word,” adds Frisell. That led to playing off the idea of ink -- if not used in writing, where else it could end up. The fingerprint “emphasizes the difference between [literacy] and becoming part of a criminal record,” continues teammate Bergdahl. “It can make a difference, save you from a life in crime. So in some way it’s an encouragement to start to learn to write and get a job.”

In the cyber arena, another triumvirate took the top honor. Puerto Rico’s Massielle Asencio, an art director with Leo Burnett, Wing PR copywriter Federico Schenquerma, and Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi art director Antuan Vazquez -- a group of friends who frequently enter competitions together -- received Gold for their banner ad. The team found the assignment “tough in the sense that I think the brief was meant for another medium, not cyber,” reflects Vazquez. “The sense that it’s about illiteracy and people who don’t know how to read I don’t think really go onto the internet to look for things. We thought of using sound and images to engage them, but we didn’t have a program we could use to integrate that, so we ended up doing a banner that was all text."

The Gold winners received medals and full registration to Cannes Lions 2006, as well as software and prints from Adobe and Getty Images. As for the other honorees, who earned medals, the Silver press award went to Spain’s Alejandro Pere Caballos and Miguel Izco Mutiloa, both of Vocento CMXXI, who created a clever Scrabble-themed execution. Brazil, well-known for its prolific output of print and outdoor, took the Bronze press medal for a lottery-ticket themed ad with the tagline, “If you are not good with words, you better be good with numbers,” created by F/Nazca Saatchi & Saatchi art director Caio Cassoli and Giovanni FCB copywriter Icaro Doria. Doria, formerly a copywriter at FCB/Lisbon, did end with a Gold Lion, however, having worked on the much-honored Grande Reportagem print campaign, which won a Print Lion Wednesday night. -Ann-Christine Diaz

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