Dispatches From Cannes – Young Media Lions Competition

Media Experts Chris Walton and Val Whiffen, winners of the Canadian Young Media Lions Competition are at the Cannes Festival of Creativity to compete and take in all that is the truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. This is their first dispatch

Young Media Lions Competition

From the moment we stepped into the Young Lions Zone, it was evident that international teams began to size each other up. We were all wondering the same things: How will the knowledge of our individual markets play to our advantage/disadvantage in a worldwide competition? What will the role of language play when we all have a different mother tongue? With 24 hours to conceptualize, execute and present, how should we allocate our time?

The competition kicked off with a very animated briefing from our client John Bird, founder of UK’s The Big Issue. He presented the lifestyle of homeless individuals who choose to turn their lives around by buying and selling issues of this street newspaper in order to double their investment as an alternative to begging. While this model serves as a way for vendors to reclaim their independence and gain a feeling of self-worth, it does not come without many barriers. The public holds a strong interest in the Big Issue publication but still had a social hesitance in purchasing copies from street vendors, due to intimidation, discomfort and an uncertainty of where the funds will be going.

Our challenge was to change perceptions of this business model and to communicate what it really means to be a Big Issue vendor in hopes of increasing readership and re-integrating these individuals into society.

The solution we developed aimed to engage social influencers and young urban professionals who have the power to generate social change and the means to support this cause. Wanting to demonstrate what it really means to be a vendor, we proposed an online market place called ViceMarket where, in the spirit of the Big Issue, users could commit to one change they could make to better themselves such as exercising or quitting smoking, and then sell this habit to their friends and family for support. This would instill a sense of accountability to follow through on goals, and put users in the shoes of the vendors having to experience what it is like to sell in order to evoke personal change.

Once support donations has been raised, the users could allocate these earnings to particular local vendors in the form of additional inventory credits or toward the purchase of their very own newspaper box to increase their reach, heighten profit margins and diminish any social hesitance there might be to purchase directly from them. We also suggested there be NFC technology integrated in these boxes so users could simply tap their phone to buy a paper via a linked account such as PayPal, further increasing ease of purchase and acknowledging the decline of cash on hand.

While we are very proud of our case and the presentation we delivered, sadly we didn’t place. After chatting with other young lions after the awards we are very intrigued to see all the cases online as people adopted a wide variety of approaches.

Stay tuned for our next dispatch up shortly.