Recharge your Creative Juices with Canada’s Young Lions

By Jessica Burnie and Elizabeth McPhedran

The media industry is a breeding ground for big ideas. Teaming with creative minds granted easy access to leading-edge technology, we work within a nexus of innovative possibilities.

That said, we’re only human. Even during your freshman years in this industry, falling into a comfortable routine is inevitable. The realities of the job – the tight turnarounds, the risk adverse clients, the shrinking budgets, and the overall pressure to just ‘get the job done’ – can start to quell our creativity.  

Insert the Globe and Mail’s Canada’s Young Lions competition: a 24-hour break from the ordinary, where being bold reigns king. This healthy dose of competition briefs teams of two aged 30 and under with the task of designing an innovative media plan that serves to leverage a local charity’s visibility.

Yes, the tight deadline is draining. Yes, the pressure of hatching a brilliant idea looms too close for comfort. And yes, the keyboard leaves an imprint on your face when you pass out briefly at 2 AM. But with this brief comes something else: a blank canvas.

It’s not every day in this business that you’re able to unshackle yourself from the constraints of campaign norms to explore outside the box; to turn the problem on its head and allow yourself to think differently. To be bold without the nagging voice in your mind repeating the mantra WWCW (What Would the Client Want)?

In other words, Young Lions is the perfect moment to recharge your creative juices.

Going into last year’s competition, we sought out advice from industry experts for how they approach these types of challenges; namely, new business pitches. Because when you think about it, that’s exactly what Canada’s Young Lions is: One big ol’ (albeit on-a-smaller-scale-and-tighter-timeline) pitch. Here’s a look at the wisdom they shared:

  • Start early by making a list of campaigns you’ve coveted throughout the year. If it made you say “Man, I wish I’d thought of that,” it’s list-worthy.
  • Let yourself be inspired by campaigns from around the world. Check out past winners from international industry festivals to see how different regions approach advertising. If anything, it will shake up your idea of Canadian campaign norms.
  • When you’re in the throes of brainstorming, be sure to ask yourself: “Has it been done before?” If the answer is “I don’t think so,” dredge forward.
  • And finally, if you think you’ve fleshed out your insight enough, you haven’t. Go back and spend 20 more minutes. Then 20 more after that.

This sound advice served us well, and gave us a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to compete on the world stage at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity: a heady combination of beaches, rosé, and countless creative idols whose collective professional history inspires you to blaze your own trail into advertising history.

But competition aside, this is more than just a shot at a free trip to France. It’s a chance to hit ‘Refresh’. It’s an opportunity to reignite your passion for this industry, to flex your creative muscles, and to sharpen your skills (not to mention it makes a nice, shiny edition to any CV or yearly review). With this year’s submission gates now open, keep these reasons in mind when you’re weighing the worth of giving up your Saturday to compete. Career-wise, we’d say it’s a no-brainer.