Interview starts at 14:35
In part two of my third csuitepodcast from Cannes Lions, I spoke with the three judges of the Young Lions PR Competition, Blair Metcalfe from MSLGroup, Candace Kuss of H+K Strategies and James Hacking from BlueCurrent, plus the winners of the Bronze award, Estefani Solorzano and Christian Gomez of Comunidad CR [the competition’s Gold was won by the Hungarian team of Luca Hadnagy and Paloma Madina from HPS Experience].
James said that in total, this year’s Young Lions competition attracted 468 entries from 69 counties across 7 categories.
Teams of two from different agencies who had previously won their individual country rounds are given just 24 hours to answer a brief set by a non-profit organisation, and they have to come back and pitch their ideas to the judges. The PR category was supported by The International Communications Consultancy Organisation, and had entries from 24 countries.
Candace said that it was amazing that the teams who had won their country rounds had come to Cannes from around the world, some as far as China, to compete against each other, and that being on the jury was very insightful because as judges, they learned a lot from the finalists as well as the finalists learning from the experience.
This year’s brief had come in from the British Red Cross. It’s aim was to raise attention for ‘silent emergencies’, things that happen every day that, for whatever reason, are not necessarily picked up by the mainstream media like a natural disaster or a famine might, yet they account for about 9 out of 10 issues. James said that judging was very challenging as the quality was extremely high and once they had narrowed it down, they had difficulty placing the winners.
Bronze winners, Estefani and Christian, had made the trip to Cannes Lions from their agency in Costa Rica and they said it was a huge honour to be there, adding that the experience of winning was overwhelming and that they are still trying to get used to it.
Explaining their idea, Christian said that their campaign started by discussing why people did not help with silent emergencies and that people are not able to respond to things they do not hear about. From here, they decided to invent the idea of a simple hearing test, like the standard test you are given, where you tap when you hear the sound frequency, but for this campaign, when the noise passed below the 20 Hz human listening barrier, instead of not being able to hear anything, you started to hear the stories of those people who experienced silent emergences – the idea being now that you can hear them, you can help them.
This was the first year that the PR category for the Young Lions competition had been included in Costa Rica and so Estefani and Christian felt very proud to have won bronze, plus it gave hem the reassurance that they are on the right career path. Christian said that the entire process does put pressure on you but part of that pressure means that at some point you must believe in your idea and go with it, even with the language barrier, where when he speaks in English a fundamental part of what he is trying to say may not come across, as you just hope it will be as understood across the world.
Candace said that the top five of six entries were the ones that got the judges ‘in the gut’! They were the most memorable. Many were visual, simple and impactful ideas that paid attention to the target audience well.
For Blair, the benefits of the competition are obvious. He said that it means that your agency’s young talent is not only showcased at Cannes but also can improve and be supported. He added that it is great coming together and sharing creative ideas with like-minded individuals but it also helps the competition entrants understand the PR world a little better and that it’s therefore a great benefit for their personal progress, their career progress but also great for their agencies too.
Finally, Christian and Estefani explained that the PR industry in Costa Rica is in its early stages and coming to Cannes is like a glimpse into the future for them. They want to harness what they have learnt and are looking forward to the next project.
The Cannes Lions episodes of the csuitepodcast were sponsored by Capstone Hill Search.
Thanks to ICCO for allowing us to carry out the interviews in their House of PR.
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