Young Guns Versus The Old Guard: Who Adds More Value to Our Industry?

Young Guns Versus The Old Guard: Who Adds More Value to Our Industry?

What is more important to the advertising industry? Seasoned experience or fresh thinking? That’s the hot topic set to spice things up when the industry’s Debate Club comes to Cannes in Cairns, presented by Pinterest this June.

That’s right, the house will debate ‘Young Guns Versus Old Guard: Who Adds More Value to Our Industry? Two teams of three will go head-to-head on stage in a feisty debate set to inspire and delight attendees.

Secure your tickets to Cannes in Cairns, presented by Pinterest, before it’s too late!

Debate Club, supported by IAB Australia, will feature the industry’s future leaders including Darragh Butler, partner manager at Uber Advertising, Celine Dinant senior business manager at The Monkeys, and Nate Vella senior digital strategist at Bench Media.

“Debate Club is a rare example where the participants and audience have fun, embrace intellectual curiosity and playfulness, and assemble a positive and encouraging environment,” Gai Le Roy IAB Australia CEO told B&T.

On the opposing team, Cannes in Cairns keynote speaker Jane Caro will team up with Angela Smith, CEO of Affinity and Josh Falks, CEO of the Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), to debate the controversial question.

However, not all will be as it seems as young debaters champion the cause of the Old Guard, while seasoned industry experts advocate for the Young Guns.

Regardless of where the debaters work, when speaking on a Debate Club panel, they represent themselves as individual speakers.

“There is a fear that you will experience ‘career suicide’ if you ever say the wrong thing on stage, making many withhold from candidly debating topics that will make our industry better – or even step back from participating in panels overall,” founder of Debate Club Orsolya Toth-Pal said.

“As a consequence, our industry suffers from a lack of innovation and diversity. Debate Club creates a safe space for exploring both sides of an argument and is a practice ground for everyone, no matter your background, to grow as confident public speakers.”

Taking place in the Hemingways content track, at the iconic Hemingway’s Brewery on Cairns Wharf, just minutes from Cairns Convention Centre, (at 3.30pm on Day 1, 4 June), the session will be moderated by Debate Club founding members Alicia Placer, sales director at programmatic media and marketing consultancy Excalin, and Lela Richmont-Johnson, senior account executive enterprise at Criteo.

Find out more about the new Hemingway’s Brewery track at Cannes in Cairns, presented by Pinterest.

Placer explained that Debate Club, which takes place throughout the year at various locations, acts as a safe space to foster meaningful conversation, develop public speaking skills and build thought leadership.

“Both Cannes in Cairns and Debate Club share similar values: diversity and inclusion, creativity, innovation and open dialogue, just to name a few,” Placer said.

“This is the event where the industry discusses, collaborates and envisions what the future of our work will be – and Debate Club is passionate about fostering that conversation.

During the session, there will be four rounds: the opening round, debate round, rebuttal round and closing round. At each round, one member from both the affirmative and the opposition will give their all to convince the crowd that their opinion is the strongest, backed by stats, case studies and a sprinkle of showmanship.

After the first two rounds, both teams are given a five-minute intermission to prepare their rebuttals – their final chance to pick holes in the other team’s argument and present their final closing statement. This is tipped to be the most entertaining element of the debate, and what often clinches the winning team. Here, the judges are faced with a tough choice to choose the winner against stringent criteria.

The five almighty industry judges called upon to cast their votes include Greg Graham Founder of Experience Advocacy Taskforce, Esther Clerehan, CEO/ founder of Clerehan, Gai Le Roy, IAB Australia CEO, Tom Fogden, editor of B&T, and Georgie Witt, commercial innovation manager, Paramount Australia and New Zealand.

Why This Topic?

While exploring relevant industry issues, Debate Club said it identified the longevity of careers in advertising as a significant yet unresolved concern, noting that only 18.5 per cent of individuals in the industry are over 40, compared to 62 per cent in the broader Australian workforce.

Recognising the necessity of addressing this disparity for the sustainability of careers, Placer said that Debate Club wanted to delve into the topic of ageism with a fresh approach.

“Assigning younger members to advocate for the older demographic and vice versa, we aim to not only make the conversation engaging and accessible but also foster empathy for differing perspectives,” she explained.

“As advocates for meaningful dialogue, we seek to raise public awareness about the importance of this issue for the future of the workforce.”

Sophie Gallagher, strategy director at CHEP Network and founding member of Debate Club, said while it’s too hard to predict who will win, seeing its speakers put themselves on the line, find a unique and creative angle on the argument and putting on a show for the crowd is “an incredible sight to see”.

“It’s common to see industry heavyweights predicting the future of our industry – but less common seeing them debate young guns who are eager to make an impact. Grab your popcorn – it’s going to be unmissable!” Gallagher said.

Secure your tickets to Cannes in Cairns, presented by Pinterest, before it’s too late!

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