Orlaith Blaney, CEO of McCann Blue and IAPI President
The Institute of Advertising Practitioners (IAPI) is embarking on a drive to get more Irish ad agencies to enter and attend the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity this year.
IAPI was appointed as an official Irish representative for the Festival at the end of last year. The Festival will take place at the end of June.
The Cannes Lions Festival is the world’s most respected platform for celebrating creativity in communications. According to IAPI, just 36 people attended the festival from the Irish advertising industry last year out of a total of 12,000 delegates from 96 countries.
As part of its campaign to increase participation, IAPI will run two ‘Young Lions’ competitions in cyber and media. The nonprofit Multiple Sclerosis Ireland has already set the brief and an international team of judges will judge the work. The winning teams in cyber and media – four people – will be sent on all expenses paid trip to compete against the best young creatives in the world in Cannes in June. Google and Shutterstock are sponsoring the winning Irish teams. The winners will be announced at a gala lunch in Dublin being organised by IAPI for the CEO of the Cannes Lions Festival Phil Thomas on March 2nd.
The Young Lions competition is part of a wider initiative to raise the profile and reputation of Irish creative agencies internationally. According to IAPI the goal is to positon Ireland as a creative hub while at the same time positioning Irish agencies for international pitches.
According to Orlaith Blaney, CEO of McCann Blue and IAPI President: “I feel we need to put creativity at the very top of the IAPI agenda – ADFX 2014 was brilliant and a real demonstration of what brands are doing to drive overall effectiveness but the recession, austerity, tight marketplace and adspend drops along with some client and agency cuts in strategic planning and communications insight resources along with pressure to compete on ‘price only’ has meant that powerful creative communication ideas are not in plentiful supply.
On a personal note, I really want to see the ADFX awards feature work that could win in creative awards and vice versa. The standard of Irish creativity needs more leadership than ever before and we just aren’t seeing enough great ideas in digital, on TV, in social. If we really want to compete then we must look to Cannes to inspire us to raise our game as an industry and that is also where great clients are aiming too, with Cannes recognition on many client agenda’s. We need to be involved and engaged and learn from Cannes and aim high for creative success. It is exciting to be involved in the Young Lions and a great opportunity for IAPI agencies to really get involved.”
An initiative spearheaded by Stephen Quinn from Atomic, newly elected to the IAPI board, aims at getting senior creative directors behind a drive to attend the festival.
“As creative directors we’ve seen many accounts moving to the UK over the last few years and while some of the reasons for the moves have been budgetary, there is a feeling that creative in the UK is somehow superior to Ireland,” says Quinn. “If we as an industry want to retain creative accounts or even be considered for international pitches we need to be taken seriously on the international stage. Cannes Lions is the first step on that journey to get recognition for our work. Our attendances, entries and awards are lower than that of other countries of our size. From speaking to Irish Creative Directors there’s a feeling that we don’t have a chance of winning at Cannes. It’s my role to help us as an industry to understand the rules of the game, share our knowledge and then to go there and win. It’s about putting aside our competitive nature within our agencies, work together and share the results as an industry and a country.