If They Cannes, You Cannes: Past Young Lions Winners Ft. Nicole Hetherington

If They Cannes, You Cannes: Past Young Lions Winners Ft. Nicole Hetherington

Entries are officially open for the 2019 Snapchat Young Lions Competition, so if you haven’t entered yet … what are you waiting for?

The competition covers three of the seven Young Lions categories including media, digital and marketer.

Now in its eleventh year, the Young Lions competition searches for the best young talent in the media, marketing and creative industries to represent Australia at the 2019 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

All entries will be assessed by a team of over 60 high profile industry judges, with successful entrants taking part in a second round 24-hour brief.

In order to help first-timers with their entries – or those who have entered before but want some insider tips from past winners – we’re running a new series on B&T: If They Cannes, You Cannes (we know, we’re so punny).

From advice about entering to tips for the live pitch and what Cannes is really like, we’ve got the inside scoop to help this year’s entrants put their best creative foot forward.

First up, we interviewed Nicole Hetherington. Check out what she had to say about the whole experience below!

When did you win?

2009 – Winner, Digital Young Lions NZ (Cannes competition)

2016 – Runner-up, Print Young Lion Aus (Spikes competition)

What advice would you give this year’s entrants about entering?

Think simple and think different. You can easily get wrapped up in your own thoughts and in turn, I found a lot of the ideas I’ve produced in the past for the competition end up a little complicated. Judges want to see simple and smart thinking that feels fresh.

Also, go broad and don’t settle on the first idea, push past it – a lot of the time you’ll come back to the first good one – but make sure you’ve explored all other ways in. 

 Anything you’d wish you’d known when preparing your response?

While the opinions of those around you always matter and can give you advantage, be careful the final idea you proceed with is the one that in your gut you know is right!

A competition like this is so subjective and you don’t want to have any regrets on what you enter. 

Also, keep a close eye on the judging criteria, this is the lens in which your work will be viewed by – so make sure you answer the requirements in a concise way and nail each point.

Any tips for the live pitch?

Being on both sides of the judging there’s one word of advice I’d give for the live pitch – practice.

Honestly, it’s probably the most obvious… but in my mind the most important. You can never practice enough. Judges want to see your passion and fire for the idea.

Knowing your presentation inside out and getting the articulation to short and sharp compelling points is key. Sell it with conviction.

What was your experience at Cannes itself like? What can this year’s winners expect?

I first went to Cannes 10 years ago and I was only 20, so it was a wild, magical and colourful ride that is most definitely a blurry and distant memory.

The competition itself was intense, we were in the 24hr digital comp, which back then the brief was to code a banner – I am not a coder. People were creating banners with helicopters crashing and I was attempting to make mine click through to the next frame.

To say the least, I didn’t win over in Cannes but the rest of it was incredible.

There is so much to take in, so many boss women and men to learn from. I’d say plan out your days and the talks that you want to go to – it gets hectic fast.

Take advantage of the Young Lion mentor talks – these are incredible. I had some BIG DEAL names the year I went and to be in a small room with some of the world’s best is like nothing else.

And just like the talks – there are the parties! Make sure you plan these too.

There are so many great networking opportunities post festival formalities. Be in the know – hit up production companies and industry contacts before you head over to make the most of this side of the festival.

Have you been back to Cannes since Young Lions and how was the experience different or similar? 

I headed back to Cannes 2 years ago and it was a completely different experience. I wish when I was 20 I had the knowledge of my 28 year old self as you really can make the most out of it.

The festival itself had massively grown and the range of themes had changed – I went to a lot of the smaller, specialised presentations to gain knowledge in areas I wanted to learn more in. I really planned out what I wanted to achieve from the festival and went for it. 

How important is Cannes Young Lions for the industry?

Personally, it’s one of the most advantageous opportunities for young creatives. I was gutted when I finally hit 30 and couldn’t enter anymore, but I had my fair run at it.

It opens you up to a world of possibilities and it really is what you make at it.

Go hard at it and don’t just give it a half-assed effort. It’s one of the most life-changing competitions out there.

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