Entries are open for the 2022 TikTok Young Lions competition, and to celebrate we’re sitting down with winners from previous years to pick their brains.
This time we’re with the incredibly talented Meredith Besseling who took out gold in the Digital category at last year’s Young Lions competition with her partner Rachel Tucker.
If there was ever an example of why you should never give up it’s this young award winner, whose fourth attempt at the Young Lions Digital award finally snagged her the win.
But it wasn’t just her persistence that lead to her success. Besseling’s time learning from some of the best in adland, including CHE Proximity, Leo Burnett, and currently as a creative with TBWA gave her the crafty skills she needed to smash the competition.
In this interview we learn from Besseling the importance of under-thirties awards for the industry, never giving up, and how nice it is to chuck an award win on your LinkedIn profile!
B&T: What inspired you to enter the Young Lions competition?
MB: I’ve been entering for a few years now. I started because it was a great way to flex myself creatively after moving into a more conceptual role within advertising. You just learn so much by doing different kinds of briefs that break out of the day-to-day.
B&T: How have things changed for you since winning?
It’s been a lovely way to network with other creatives who were part of the competition. But also, in terms of boosting my portfolio, it helps to have a bit of variety in there. And of course, making finalist became my second ever LinkedIn post, so pretty much a 1000 per cent increase in social media engagement right there.
B&T: What advice would you give to this year’s entrance? Is there anything you wish you’d known when you were preparing your response?
In terms of advice, keep pushing your work, but go with your gut! Rach and I ended up landing on an idea we came up with maybe in the first few days of looking at the brief, but it was the process of exploring that helped us take it to the next level.
And just get it done! It’s easy to procrastinate in these creative competitions, but keep going back to the work and keep focusing on it whenever you get a chance.
B&T: What do you think was the masterstroke that got you the win?
There are a lot of different elements that came together to make it a winning piece of work. One of the main things was that we came up with an idea that solves a platform-specific problem. Of course, this year, it’s TikTok not Snapchat, but there are a lot of unique challenges within that.
B&T: So why do you think the TikTok Young Lions competition is important to the industry?
It’s a good way to test your creativity and try something new. Day-to-day client work is very different from what you get to do in these competitions, so it’s great for exploring other ways of approaching your thinking. It’s just you and the brief; no client, no politics, no budget constraints.
B&T: Do you ever feel as though there are too many competitions in the industry?
There are certainly a lot of awards across the industry. But the amount of under-thirties awards we currently have is great. It provides opportunities to try out different ways of thinking.
What I’d love to see is more free to enter under-thirties awards, that way it starts to open up opportunities to people who haven’t got an agency financially backing them.
B&T: Is there anything that makes TikTok Young Lions stand out to you?
Young Lions really values creativity. A lot of under-thirties competitions are about repetition or about having that one off cracker idea, whereas Young Lions is rigorous to a whole new level.
So as someone who’s under 30 and doesn’t have decades of work behind me, it’s nice to have an opportunity to be involved in a big awards show.
B&T: What words of wisdom would you like to impart on young digital professionals reading this article?
Every creative competition has its own flavour. Look at what has won previously, and what sets it apart from the other competitions you may be entering. But also, keep trying.
Find a way to discover your voice in the context of the creative comp you’re entering, and how to stand out from the other entrants.
B&T: Do you have any secret tips to offer our readers from your experience entering the Young Lions competition?
Just keep trying! It took me a few years of entering to find my groove in terms of the competition and really, it’s just a numbers game. The more years you enter it, the better you’ll become at entering it.
The Young Lions competition is a hugely rewarding experience that could change your career forever! So take your first step to Cannes* by registering and accessing the brief HERE, as the deadline for submissions (14 MARCH 2022) will be here before you know it.
You can find all the details you’ll need to enter right HERE.
*Subject to travel restrictions
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