The Young Marketers Competition

MarketingThe Young Marketers Competition is one of my favorite parts of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. It invites teams of marketers under the age of 30 to develop a 360-degree marketing brief, one very similar to what they might give to their agency one day.

So, why does Ketchum sponsor it? Well, we think we have an obligation to help educate and inspire young marketers around the world. We want to challenge them to see how an integrated marketing mix is essential for successful campaigns. The Young Marketers Competition is an intensive learning experience for participants and has the added benefit of supporting a deserving non-profit, which this year was the World Food Programme (WFP).

Based in Rome, WFP is a highly-regarded United Nations agency dedicated to eliminating hunger around the world. For the Young Marketers, WFP developed a real-world challenge tied to World Food Day in October and sent a communications executive to Cannes to join the briefing and evaluation process. In return, WFP received dozens of compelling communications ideas and a range of new potential public and private partnership models. Similarly, there are benefits for Ketchum as well. This sponsorship connects us to one of our core values: developing young talent, whether that’s in our agency or across companies worldwide.

This competition put us in touch with rising stars and also reminded us that developing talent must always rank high on our list of to-dos. And for me, one of the most exciting parts of the competition is discovering talent that utterly surprises you, coming from a place or perspective you didn’t expect.

In this year’s competition, I was impressed by the way these competitors grounded their concepts in measurable outcomes. They knew how to frame an integrated campaign with achievable business objectives and kept the World Food Programme central to the brief. You can’t help but appreciate and admire the excellent training these marketers are receiving inside their companies.

Each of the teams crafted themes that tapped the creative fever of Cannes and then outlined the expected executional benchmarks – all of this in about 36 hours. The winning team, Marisol Diaz-Rozic and Marianela Frick of PepsiCo in Argentina, stood apart from the others because they created a program that cleverly broadened WFP’s topic from “hunger” to “health and well-being.” The conversation became about more than just taking care of other hungry kids; it became a fun, entirely achievable campaign about what it means to be a healthy kid.

Thanks to the insights and creativity of the Young Marketers our friends at the WFP took away many campaigns with great potential, and all of us left with enormous admiration for the extraordinary talent of these rising stars. Now it’s up to all of us to unlock that talent and to unlock it early, so these rising stars can get on with building their extraordinary careers.

Visit Ketchum Perspectives for more of our post-Cannes impressions.

Jerry Olszewski, Senior Partner and Chief Client Officer, counsels Ketchum’s client teams worldwide on best practices in client service, the deployment of top talent, client-relevant innovation, and easy client access to our full portfolio of products and services. He also sits on the eight-member worldwide Executive Committee. In addition to his Chief Client Officer role, Jerry advises global clients on communications strategy, corporate reputation, and organizational structure.