"Every agency I know claim its talent is what best differentiates it from the others. Can they all be right?"
David Gallagher, ICCO President; CEO, Ketchum Europe, Middle East and Africa
After a smash debut of the Young PR Lions competition at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last year, ICCO is proud to again serve as the global sponsor as part of our mission to showcase the creative power and competitive advantage of PR consultancy to marketers worldwide. Not for the faint of heart, the contests pits 30 or so teams of two PR young (under age 28) professionals to devise and present a PR strategy – in 24 hours – against a specific communications challenge. Their solutions are judged by a panel of global agency experts on creativity, strategy and general smartness, and the winners take home a coveted gold, silver or bronze Cannes Lion. Getting to the Cannes competition itself is a major feat. Competing teams must first beat out the best of their national markets in competitions organised by Cannes Lions festival representatives and the national PR associations that are members of ICCO. As a judge in the 2014 UK competition and as jury president for the wider PR competition at Cannes in 2013, I can assure you: this ain’t easy. But it’s well worth the effort. Here’s why:
- Do it for your country. The inaugural competition in 2014 saw teams from Japan, the UK and Austria (yay, they were from the agency I work for, Ketchum) take home Lions, proving that wining ideas don’t have to come from giant countries, and that creativity knows no bounds.
- Do it for your agency. Every agency I know claim its talent is what best differentiates it from the others. Can they all be right? Those who compete in Cannes certainly stand out, and those that win, shine very brightly.
- Do it for PR. Let’s be honest – we are in a fight to attract the best and brightest to the wonderful field of PR. What better way to show off than to showcase our unique and strategic approach to communications problem-solving?
- Do it for a good cause. Most of the national competitions and the global finale in Cannes are organised around a client, usually from the non-profit community, looking for creative help to solve a specific challenge. Many activate the winning idea – and what a great feeling to see your brainchild serve a worthy organisation.
- Do it for your career. I can’t guarantee a promotion or job offers, but I can say with confidence that few things pop on a CV like a Cannes Lions. And the fact that this competition, unlike the wider PR campaign contest, is about you and your wits, rather than a project, is unlike any other in calling out your rock-star qualities.