CANNES, France and NEW YORK, July 2, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Hiruni Shermila Mendis and Lakshita Wayan Wijesinghe of telecommunications company ETISALAT in Sri Lanka won the Gold Lion for the fourth-annual Young Lions Marketers Competition at the 60th annual Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Sponsored by Ketchum, this year's competition challenged 23 teams of young in-house marketers from around the world to develop a creative brief for a product or service that would benefit Ketchum's global pro bono partner, Room to Read, a global organization focused on transforming children's lives through literacy and gender equality in education. Competitors then presented their communication plans to a panel of industry leaders, which was led by Jerry Olszewski, Ketchum senior partner and chief client officer.
Mendis, assistant manager, research, at ETISALAT, and Wijesinghe, product manager, marketing, at ETISALAT, developed the winning brief, "Empower Another YOU" to win the Gold Lion -- Sri Lanka's first ever Gold Lion. The creative idea centered on ETISALAT's mobile recharge cards, which, when purchased, would designate a percentage of the profit to Room to Read and would prompt the cards' users to donate via SMS messages.
The Silver Lion went to the team from the Dominican Republic, Banco Popular Domincano's Yasser Marmol, product manager, and Maria Elena More, sub manager, brand management, for their campaign brief, "The Ignite Movement." In addition, the Canada team, Reckitt Benckiser's Sahar Jamal, assistant brand manager, and Michelle Yee, marketing specialist, won the Bronze Lion for their "World Change Starts with a Sisterhood" campaign brief.
In a video interview, Mendis said this of the winning campaign brief: "At ETISALAT, we have never done a campaign targeting women only. So that was a challenge that we took on, because a woman empathizes with another woman. And that was the essence of our brief."
Participants were briefed onsite at Cannes and then given 30 hours to develop their product or service concept before showcasing their communication plans in a two-page written brief and short presentation to the judging panel. In addition to Olszewski, the Young Lions Marketers Competition jury included Sarah Ivey, EVP and director of communication planning worldwide at Initiative, and Pamela El, former VP of marketing for State Farm. The winning teams received their trophies at the Young Lions award ceremony on Saturday, June 22.
Of the judging, Olszewski said, "I am incredibly inspired by the creativity and the strategic thinking demonstrated by this year's Young Marketers. They were so thoughtful and precise in thinking through the full business plan behind their creative briefs, and as a result, it was immediately obvious that their ideas would benefit both Room to Read and their respective companies. This talented group represents the future leaders of our industry, and it is especially powerful to see how adept they are at using their skills for the betterment of society through an organization like Room to Read."
In addition to sponsoring the Young Lions Marketers Competition, Ketchum's presence at the 60th Cannes Lions Festival included launching Creative for Good, an online resource for sharing worldwide best practices in pro-social campaigns, which was created by the World Economic Forum with support from Ketchum and the Ad Council. Ketchum also sponsored a panel with the Holmes Report, "Creativity in the Conversation Economy," and shared insights and observations during the Cannes Lions Festival through the agency's Cannes*ectivity blog. Additionally, Ketchum and its clients won nine awards (one Gold, two Silver and six Bronze Lions) for its client work, and senior partner and European CEO David Gallagher served as jury president for the PR Lions competition.
About the Young Lions Marketers Competition
Ketchum is the exclusive global sponsor of the Young Lions Marketers Competition at the 60th Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, June 16 to 22 in Cannes, France. The competition is designed to celebrate creativity and recognize young talented "in-house" marketers, age 30 or under, from around the world. The 23 participating countries are: Argentina, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, Denmark, Dominican Republic, Finland, Guatemala, Japan, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Turkey and Vietnam.
About the 60th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity
The International Festival of Creativity, also known as Cannes Lions, is the world's leading celebration of creativity in communications. Founded in 1954, the Festival takes place every June in Cannes, France. As the most prestigious international annual advertising and communications awards, over 34,300 entries from all over the world are showcased and judged at the Festival. Winning companies receive the highly coveted Lion trophy, a global benchmark of creative excellence, for Film, Print, Outdoor, Interactive, Radio, Design, Promo & Activation, Film Craft, Mobile, Branded Content & Entertainment and Integrated advertising, as well as the best Media, Direct, PR, Titanium and Creative Effectiveness ideas. The Festival is also the only truly global meeting place for advertisers, advertising and communication professionals. More than 11,000 delegates from 95 countries attend a week-long program of exhibitions, screenings and talks by worldwide thought leaders. As the networking and learning opportunity of the year, Cannes Lions is the must-attend event for anyone involved in brand communications.
Ketchum is a leading global communications firm with operations in more than 70 countries across six continents. Named 2012 PR Agency of the Year (PRWeek) and the winner of an unprecedented three consecutive PRWeek Campaign of the Year Awards, Ketchum partners with clients to deliver strategic programming, game-changing creative and measurable results that build brands and reputations. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Diversified Agency Services, a division of Omnicom Group Inc., visit www.ketchum.com.
About Diversified Agency Services
Diversified Agency Services (DAS), a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com), manages Omnicom's holdings in a variety of marketing communications disciplines. DAS includes over 200 companies, which operate through a combination of networks and regional organizations, serving international and local clients through more than 700 offices in 71 countries.