While Cannes judges wrestled with where to slot
platform-spanning work, digital agency AKQA encouraged
category-busting ideas from the next generation with its third
annual Future Lions awards.
The AKQA-backed competition puts the focus on ad schools and the students who will likely represent the next wave of Cannes-winning talent.
"It's to discover quite literally the Lions of the future and potential creative talent that could be winning awards two, three or five years down the line," says AKQA global creative director Rei Inamoto. "We organized this competition specifically for students around the world."
In the months prior to Cannes, an AKQA Creative Council, including Inamoto, AKQA New York executive creative director Lars Bastholm, and other creatives at the agency, judged 400+ submissions entered in the contest. Students in ad schools around the world were given a medium-agnostic mandate and the opportunity to use the brand of their choice. "The restriction that we gave is pick and recognize a brand and come up with an idea that was not possible five years ago," says Inamoto. "That's the extent of the brief, and they could pick whatever brand that they want. It doesn't have to be an advertising campaign, but just consider ideas in a broad sense not just in terms of 'here's a TV spot and a tagline sort of idea.'"
The idea for Future Lions according to the AKQA chief is to blur the lines between all media when it comes to advertising. "It can be anything. It's not restricted or confined to any medium. Some of the ideas that came out are things that I wouldn't even have thought of or other agency people wouldn't have thought of. It's different from any other competition, and it's not restricted to TV, print or online stuff. The thing is there's a lot of talk about integration and how it's not about online/offline, but at the same time, the irony is the way the awards are organized are around different channels or mediums. So, we wanted to provide a platform that's truly media-agnostic."