The Boulevard de la Croisette is the main drag in Cannes. Along this stretch you find the fancy hotels, the skimpy swimsuits on 70-year-olds, and Merc after Merc packed full of Louis Vuitton luggage.
During the Cannes Lions festival it’s also home to the world’s best ECDs.
Pretty swanky. Can be wanky. Pricey, too (if you’re lucky, some lovely person from a production company will shout you a $12 beer at the Hotel Martinez).
As a ‘young creative’, the real action happens in the nose-bleed section a few streets back. In the dodgy hotels with elevators that’ll slice your arm off like a piece of devon. At Morrison’s Irish pub. And the kebab place just up from it. It’s here the young and the sleep-deprived drink, talk about ECDs with Louis Vuitton luggage…and discuss ads.
It’s inspiring and eye-opening. You’ve got to go.
But, like I said, it can be pricey, so start saving your pennies.
Or, there’s Plan B: win the News Limited Cannes Young Lions competition and News Limited shouts you a flight and a bed over there at no cost. Now you’re talkin’.
So, take it or leave it. Here’s my two cents on how to give yourself a better chance of winning the competition and making Plan B a reality: read the brief. Read it again. Read it again.
Fourth time’s a charm. A few entries last year seemed to be based on a fictional brief from the brief pixies – I’m talking only a few, but it was a shame, as I’m sure a lot of time and effort went into creating them. Read. The. Brief.
So, your first idea ticks all the boxes? Great. Bet you there’ll be another five entries that look like carbon copies, right down to the background colour. Kill your first idea and dig deeper.
It’s also important in this competition to show how slickly you can execute; remember, if you win you’ll be in Cannes competing against creatives who really know their Photoshops and 5D cameras and kerning buttons.
Having said that, don’t fall into the trap of the ‘polished turd’. A few of these crept in last year, too. You know, the ones that look the goods, but the idea is AWOL. Just because you can push a pixel better than anyone else doesn’t mean you should at the expense of a solid idea.
Get the idea singing first, then add back-up singers.
If the brief asks for a poster, do a poster. If there’s a way of moving it into and across other platforms, go for it. Show us. Can’t hurt. It’s important these days. Plus, it shows your thinking and how you continue the story. But it needs to work as a poster first and foremost.
Look, as far as competitions go, this one’s perfect for young creatives. Enter as many times as you want. It’s free. And there’s a kick-arse prize. So go for it. And remember to bring me back a kebab.
For more tips see The Brief – Young Lions Special (below) featuring hints and insights into the competition from a previous judge and past winners.
Entries for the 2013 News Limited Cannes Young Lion competition are open until Wednesday 10 April. For more information, visit News Limited’s Young Lions website.
Steve May is creative group head at Saatchi & Saatchi, and three-times Young Lions judge.