IAPI brought six Young Lions to Cannes in 2016. This year we’re running  seven competitions the maximum. We will bring fourteen Young Lions to compete in Cannes in June 2017. Hear what some of our Young Lions had to say about their experience from 2016.

Laura Halpin, Copywriter, Havas Dublin – Film Winner 2016

It’s a week of networking and learning for the global advertising community. And it’s intense. At least that’s what everyone told us. Plan who you want to see, they said. Pace yourselves, they said. So by the time June rolled around, we thought we were ready for it. We thought, how intense could it really be, right?  Holy crap. We spent the days leading up to our competition in a whirlwind. Inspiring talks and workshops during the day and out in the evenings on the rosé train till the wee hours.

Cannes Lions has that amazing festival feeling of camaraderie and openness. There’s a buzz of passion for the industry in the air, everyone’s excited by ideas, everyone’s hungry to learn what’s next in advertising. Meeting people is what it’s all about. We soaked up inspiration from influential speakers on the future of brands, transforming creativity through access, the speed of culture, thinking design, the U.N.’s Global Goals, beauty in advertising, and so much more.

Finally, our purpose at the festival rolled around and we found ourselves in the briefing room – competition time. Sitting there representing Ireland with 40 other global teams around us was nerve-wracking because we knew this was it, the clock had started ticking and the pressure was really on. Our brief from the U.N. was to change commonly held perceptions of refugees. The reality of having only 48 hours with a GoPro in an unfamiliar environment to answer a brief with a finished 60 second TV advert is…well probably exactly as you’d imagine. Extreme! It’s a hell of a creative challenge and a hell of a buzz.

On our return to Dublin, the learning continued as we turned our original winning script from the Irish competition into a reality. It was thrilling to be involved in the whole process, and to see it on the big screen in October. It’s a piece of work we’re proud of and extremely privileged to see realised, especially for the wonderful Peter McVerry Trust.

Johanna Molloy, Account Manager, Vocal – Cyber Winner 2016

In the weeks leading up to the main event, IAPI provided coaching for the competition and prepared us for the intense week ahead. With hundreds of interesting speakers and events happening throughout the Palais, we knew it would be impossible to see everything, so planning our agenda before we went was crucial to ensuring we didn’t miss out on key speakers.

The whole set up of events was beyond belief. The Cannes Lions Festival takes up much of the beach along the promenade. The area is divided into “beach houses” for the many and varied companies attending – the Facebook Beach, the Twitter Beach, the Dentsu Aegis Beach and the YouTube Beach to name a few. Each of the beaches had speakers throughout the day with interactive technologies such as Oculus Rift and 360 videos. With an abundance of complimentary food and beverages provided all day and parties well into the night, there were lots of networking opportunities throughout the week.

The competition itself was intense and exhausting but an experience I will never forget. We had 24 hours to answer our brief in a less than inspiring environment—a white desk and 3 white walls where we had our Irish flag. We gave it our all, but, with extremely stiff competition from 49 other countries, our submission didn’t hit the mark this time. However, it won’t stop us from bringing all we learned to our respective agencies and applying it to work that can compete nationally and internationally.

From incredible speakers, awe-inspiring award shows and top-class entertainment, to conversations with some of the greatest creative minds on the planet, the Cannes Lions Festival is an experience of a lifetime – an event I never thought I would have the opportunity to be part of.

Ciara Harrison, Social Media & Content Manager, Carat – Cyber Winner 2016

Before jetting off, I read that the Cannes Lions Festival was like the Oscars of advertising. After my week there I can honestly say that this comparison holds true. It has been one of the most glamourous and inspiring weeks of my life (so far).

The competition overall was a really amazing experience. I met interesting and like-minded people from every corner of the earth who were just as passionate about ads as I was. The brief itself encouraged me to think outside the box and use social platforms in new ways. Across the board there were a lot of great ideas that could really help the UN with their developmental goals. Although our idea wasn’t the winner on the day, it’s an idea that we have brought home and are looking to share with a local level charity.

Even though the competition was a big part of my experience, it was only for 24 hours, so I had six other days to fill. With so many different events on in the Palais, the days filled up pretty quickly. Throughout the week I heard guest speakers from all types of brands and agencies from across the globe. Heading away from the Palais and down to the YouTube/Facebook/Twitter beaches, I got to enjoy immersive experiences like shooting my own 360 video, VR rollercoasters, underwater selfies and Instagram photoshoots with world renowned photographers. It was also the perfect place to wind down and enjoy the evening sun with a cocktail while listening to the latest product developments and campaigns that the tech companies were creating.

Cannes Lions is not short on inspiration. Whether it be the Young Lions Competition, the Palais, Facebook Beach or even the Gutter Bar, I can honestly say that I learned something new in every conversation and experience that I had. If you are under 30, I urge you to take part in the Irish Young Lions competition, do not let this amazing opportunity pass you by.