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9 key takeaways from the UK Young Lions

Teams of two people, tackling one brief in 24 hours. The UK Young Lions is a tough but exciting challenge - here’s what we learnt from last year’s competition.

Pick your partner wisely

In the UK competition teams of two are given 24 hours to respond to a brief, set by a charity partner. The global competition follows a similar format, with the timeline slightly stretched over two days. You’re with your partner for a very intense period of time - so choose wisely! Picksomeone who you work well with - someone who complements your working style, and who you’re not going to murder when you’re eight hours in and haven’t agreed on an idea yet.

Make the most of your time

Don’t rush into ideas - you have 24 hours, so use them. Whatever your process is, follow it. We spent the first few hours dissecting the brief, digging into the audience, writing down insights and thoughts on Post-It notes and sticking them on the wall. When you come to ideas, trust your gut. If you think you can do better, push yourself and keep digging.

Know your audience

Our brief was from Children’s Society, asking us to bring to life their strapline ‘no child should feel alone’, driving awareness, affinity and action among the 18-34 year old audience - those dreaded millennials. But even if you sit within the target audience, avoid making assumptions and attempting to speak for everyone.

If it’s a broad audience, what unites them? Are there multiple passion points you can tap into?

We found an interesting piece of research that this was an audience particularly engaged by nostalgia - a nugget of information which eventually inspired our winning idea.

Answer the brief….

We knew which charity would be briefing us once we entered, but we deliberately did not even think about an idea until we had the brief in our hands. If an idea doesn’t do the job asked for in the brief, it isn’t a good idea and it isn’t going to win the competition.

...but don’t get too hung up on it.

In Cannes we had a complex brief from Amnesty International, tackling racial discrimination, asking for creative platform that could work globally for a number of years. A lot to distil into a five-minute presentation across 10 slides. But if it’s a complex brief asking for a lot of different things, simplify it. On reflection, after getting to our creative platform we got too caught up in the various ways it could play out and should have stuck to one core idea.

Keep it simple

If you can’t explain it in a sentence, it’s not a good idea. Our UK idea, nursery crimes, was easy to explain in a nutshell. We’d bring to life the issues The Children’s Society addresses – and how they bring change – through gritty retellings of nursery rhymes.

Keep it grounded in reality

Be ambitious, bold and creative with your ideas - but don’t come up with something that would be near-impossible to execute in practice. You don’t need a line by line budget breakdown, but your idea shouldn’t rely on huge companies and celebrities doing a lot for free. If you’re trembling at the thought of a client saying yes to the idea, you might need a rethink...

Show you care

Show you care about the competition, the client you’re working for and the idea you’re presenting.

That means blocking out the 24 hours that you’re working on the brief and trying to minimise any other distractions (WhatsApp, Twitter etc).

That means pushing yourself to show to the maximum to deliver the absolutely best idea you can.

That means showing that care and passion when you come to present. The judges want to see just how much it means to you as they’ll be picking a pair who will give the UK the best possible chance of winning in Cannes.

Enjoy it

Young Lions gives you the opportunity to let your shoulders drop and allows you to have fun with developing an idea that you genuinely LOVE putting together and presenting. You are in complete control, so go for it.

If you love the process, chances are that you’ll love your idea… that love is infectious and will shine through when you present.

And learn from it… even if you don’t win. We have taken a lot of what we learnt and applied it into day to day working.