Cannes Awards Adds Young Marketers Contest

Clients Play a Growing Role at Festival; U.S. Team Includes P&G and Google

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LONDON ( -- Marketers including Procter & Gamble and Google will compete next month at the Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival in a new contest that adds young marketers to an existing lineup of competitions that award young creatives.

The U.S. is fielding a team of two young marketers, one each from P&G and Google. Other participating countries are still being finalized, but so far 13 countries -- Austria, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, India, Italy, Korea, Lebanon, Portugal, Romania, Russia, the Philippines and Turkey, in addition to the U.S.-- are taking part.

The Cannes festival already has four Young Lions contests, for cyber, film, media and print. Teams made up of an art director and copywriter are chosen locally to represent their countries. Once at Cannes, the teams are briefed by a client and have a day or two to create and execute a campaign.

The young marketers contest is being added this year to reflect the growing role of clients at Cannes. The original idea was to hold local competitions to decide the marketer candidates from each country, but, for this first year, the Cannes festival is hand-picking most of the contenders. The age limit is also higher, with young marketers eligible until they are 30, compared to 28 for the Young Lions contests for agency creatives.

The young marketers contest will be judged by leading advertising creatives and strategists, led by Scott Goodson, co-founder of Strawberry Frog, the competition's sponsor.

"The main point is to spotlight the changing role of the marketer," he said. "Clients used to be handled by an account man, but today they are part of the creative process, fundamental to developing and stewarding great marketing. Great clients are intelligent and curious -- it's not about processes, it's about opening yourself up to great work."

Each two-person team will produce a brief and do a five-minute PowerPoint presentation to the judges, who then have five minutes to ask questions. The contenders will be judged on the clarity of the brief, the level of knowledge about the product or service and the company behind it, and the aims of the campaign. The produce or service will only be revealed to contestants when the competition begins. The winning team will get a gold medal during the final awards gala on June 26.

Brad Jakeman, chief creative officer of global gaming company Activision and a supporter of adding a young marketers contest, said, "Many marketers informally define their role as stopping their agencies from getting too crazy with their creative work. On the other hand, agencies can be too precious and shut out the client until the end. The whole process should be collaborative."

Other new awards at this year's festival include the film craft Lions, the Grand Prix for good, and independent agency of the year.

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