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Clients Cannes be Creative

4 min read.

Anne Zahan, Strategy Director

by Anne Zahan, Strategy Director

Core Strategy

For as long as there has been an advertising industry there has been a well-worn narrative about the client-agency relationship: the agency is the brave, creative vision trying to push an idea forward and the client is the corporate, risk-adverse counter to this. At Core, we believe that while that has probably never been true, it’s even more of a fantasy today and the Young Marketer category of the Cannes Young Lion competition proves this in spades.

In the first three years of the Young Marketer category, we have seen the sheer appetite these future leaders have for creativity and it has given us great optimism not just about the future of creativity, but the future of client and agency relationships.

My colleague Shane Doyle who is judging this category has praised the Young Marketers of past years and described how each year the number of entrants increase and the quality of the entries gets more impressive. Their category is in many ways more challenging than any other in the Cannes Young Lion competition.

They need to approach the brief not with an open canvas, but as the brand they work for. They need to understand the crossover between the brand their world occupies and that of the social issue within the brief. This can be a constraint but is also a massive opportunity. They are not bound by the constraints of advertising.

As brand owners they can leverage not only the channels of the brand but the very product itself in order to prompt change. In 2017, the competition winners from Vodafone found a way for their broadband service to detect and switch into standby connected devices not in use, saving energy. In 2018, our winners from AIB understood how their ATMs could be turned into voter registration terminals, to increase registration. In 2019, Vhi showed how they could transform their customer app to show customers the dangers of “casual” racism. Their solutions are all the more powerful and creative because they are woven into products and services, not just communications.

Someone who sits on the periphery of our industry might say that creativity awards are what defines a great creative. Although this is up for debate, what is clear is that competitions like this give a stage to future talent that they wouldn’t normally have. This is especially true in the case of Cannes, which over the years has become synonymous with creativity.

If you win a Cannes in our industry, you’ll be hard pressed to find an organisation that wouldn’t snap you up in a heartbeat. Our Young Marketers deserve as much of a chance, if not more to receive this recognition and showcase their talent on a national and global scale.

The Young Marketer category shows us that our industry is changing for the better, and we at Core are proud and humbled to be part of it.

To take part, pop over to

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