Carazo reflects on his time on the jury for the Young Lions Media Competition

As the buzz, congratulations, and (let’s be honest) hangovers finally subside from the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, I wanted to reflect on what was a particularly special aspect of this year’s event for me – having the honour of being part of the jury for the Young Lions Media Competition.

Our younger colleagues bring an energy, enthusiasm, and perspective to work every day that is totally unique, so it was probably no surprise to learn that this is very much the case the world over. Based on what I saw at Cannes, I can assure you the future of our industry is in good hands across the globe.

A competition for creatives aged 30 or under, this year’s Young Lions Media Competition had entries from incredible talent representing 28 countries, including the US, India, Nigeria, and Australia.

My fellow judging panel was also made up of an array of the world’s media leaders, and I had the pleasure of sitting alongside the likes of Karine Ysebrant de Lendonck from Belgium, Ami Qian from China, and Stephen Onaivi from Ghana.

So, we had a broad spectrum of countries, backgrounds and expertise in terms of what people do in media, making for a perfectly on-point cast, with everyone bringing a different perspective.

As to the competition itself, NGO Net Zero World was the “client”, giving our teams a brief about sustainability and how people power can generate impact on carbon emissions. The teams then had just 24 hours to put together a five-minute presentation for the panel, followed by a five-minute Q&A session where we peppered them with curly questions.

It was advertising taken to the extreme and a lot of the entrants didn’t sleep across the 24 hours. When it was time to present, some were shaking with nervous energy – I know I would have been!

Yet the amount of work – and how professionally and creatively it was presented – was so exciting and impressive. The presentations looked amazing. More than ideas on a page, I was blown away by the design work. It was incredible. While all entrants can hold their heads high, our podium places are worth a quick recap.

Bronze Lion: “Adivism” from Switzerland
The plan was to create the largest climate protest in history at the World Economic Forum in Davos. However, the logistics of having millions of people travel to the small Swiss town would leave a huge carbon footprint, so people would show their protest by putting their faces on stickers that would be plastered all over the town.

It would be the world’s first media-driven protest, using advertising to deliver activism – hence adivisim. Brilliant.

Silver Lion: “The Stone Movement” from Colombia
There is a saying in Spanish, “Una piedra en tu zapato”, which roughly translates to “A stone in your shoes” which shows how you don’t feel discomfort until you feel it in your own shoes.

The aim here was to tap into sneaker culture; specifically, to partner with the world’s largest shoe brands to put a tiny stone into the insoles of new shoes, reminding consumers of the issues in the world that should make them uncomfortable, like we will all be if we don’t resolve the climate crisis.

This campaign was all about maximum attention, and how media is delivering less and less attention in this day and age. But something as small as a pebble in your shoe will take up all your attention!

Finally, to our winners. Drum roll, please…

Gold Lion: “The Lower, The Better” from South Korea
No one thinks about their carbon emissions while chilling out and watching a movie, but the higher the resolution of the content you’re watching, the greater your footprint.

This campaign utilised the insight that consumers can reduce their streaming emissions by as much as 80% by simply taking their viewing experiences down from 4K to standard.

By partnering with Netflix, the team from Daehong would create “A Net O Series”, a clever play on “A Netflix Original Series”, to encourage users to watch in lower-quality video, thus reducing their emissions, with the aim of creating a global movement that would put pressure on all streaming services and social media companies to default low-quality video settings.

Because lower resolution leads to lower emissions. The Lower, The Better. Genius.

The winners of the three top awards were all from non-English speaking countries, so these teams were creating campaigns, presenting, and then answering questions about them in their second language. It may seem small, but being a non-native English speaker myself, I assure you it’s not something to be taken for granted, especially when you factor in a 24-hour deadline.

It was also a reminder that great ideas and insights know no language. Different people from different backgrounds, speaking different languages, coming together to share amazing ideas is about as strong an example as you’ll get for why diversity isn’t just a box-ticking exercise; it drives great outcomes.

More broadly, the three winners were delivering real-world impact with campaigns that were tangible. They didn’t just make people aware; it drove us to participate. It was media building that bridge between the online and offline worlds, all while maximising attention.

It was so refreshing to see them going beyond the standard servings of, say, a simple social campaign. They brought us unexpected touchpoints and partnerships.

It was a reflection of what we see in the “major” awards at Cannes, because while there are so many great ideas in advertising, those that deliver opportunities for real-world impact were the standouts this year.

Finally, I encourage all Australians in the industry to enter a Young Lions competition next year, be it in media, print, PR, digital, design, or film. It’s not just a trip to Cannes, although you can win a free trip to this incredible festival. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to do a piece of work you get to present to senior media people from around the world. Hope I see you at Cannes in 2024!

Article originally published on mediaweek.