Following a month of collecting submissions, a three-day online preliminary review and a 48-hour intensive workshop, the 2019 Cannes Lion Cubs China Regional Competition and the 2019 Young Spikes Youth Competition China (sponsored by the new energy car brand REDS) finally entered the fierce final review.
From April 16th to 17th, at the Beijing Damei Art Center, Mo Kangsun, (founder and CEO of MATCH Ma Ma and honorary chairman, and Liao Shuangen, chairman of the Asia Pacific Creative Committee of JWT, served as executive chairman. The jury had a tough job, conducting a rigorous review of entries from 126 teams in order to determine who would make it to the next round. The judges were: BBDO Greater China Chairman and Chief Creative Officer Liang Weifeng, Ogilvy Greater China Senior Consultant Zhang Manhua, IPG’s ‘Reprise’ China Managing Director Fu Chuanzhi, Ansopa China Group Chief Creative Officer Chen Minjun, Phoenix Network Senior Vice President Chi Xiao Yan Yan, Ali Mom Media Strategic Cooperation General Manager Chen Liangyi, Chris Bangor Design Studio Founder and REDS Smart Mobile Space Co., Ltd. Design Director Chris Bangor, Essence Asia Pacific Senior Strategy Vice President Haruna McWilliams.
Before the final review proposal, Zhao Hua, deputy secretary-general of the China Advertising Association and president of the Modern Advertising Magazine, first thanked the sponsors and judges who attended the meeting, before presenting each team’s entries.
Zhao Hua said: "From the popular movie "The Wandering Earth" to the black hole photos that everyone has been discussing recently, this year's hot topic is to describe the social nature of human beings as a community of destiny. In fact, the trials are the same, regardless of the final result. The entrants who made it to the final review are the lucky ones who stand out in the industry. They are wonderful presenters and will become an important driving force for Chinese creative, shining on the international stage. On behalf of the China Advertising Association and the Modern Advertising Magazine, I would like to thank the sponsors. Hengtian Group created material conditions for the selection competition, and also provided endless space for the creation of the contestants. At the same time, we would like to thank the judges for their support and sincerely wish everyone success - and we look forward to seeing you at the Cannes Croisette!"
The challenge for this year's trials was centered around REDS. Entrants were required to launch a new car listing on the basis of the REDS smart mobile space at the end of 2020. The new car launch conference will be the core event (it was, however, a hypothetical challenge, and not representative of REDS’ real business strategy). To give some context for non-Chinese readers. REDS is a subsidiary of China Hengtian Group Co., Ltd. for the REDSPACE brand and its products. Since 2014, Hengtian and Chris Bangor Design Studio have jointly explored the design concept of REDSPACE. Through in-depth analysis of traffic problems in super-large cities, they have innovated intelligent mobile space solutions.
In the fierce competition of the final trial, the competitors proposed communication plan for the innovative, future-facing product. In the end, the organizers received 126 works in eight: integration, public relations, media, marketing, plane, digital, design, and film. This means that in the future marketing, REDS will have a large number of ideas and solutions to choose from.
Mr. Wang Jiangan, Assistant President of China Hengtian Group, Chairman of China Hengtian New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. and Chairman of REDS Intelligent Mobile Space Co., Ltd., introduced the original intention and development vision of REDSPACE in his speech, and talked about the importance of culture and leadership.
“When the organizer introduced us to the Young Lions China Regional Selection Campaign, I thought about watching the classic musical “The Lion King” in London a few years ago. Although I have seen the movie before, the shock experienced by the little cub Simba was unforgettable. The appeal of culture and art can always transcend era and country. We are delighted to see that in the information age, China has more and more products and cultures going out to the world. So, when we learned that many competitors today will take China’s creative ideas to the world stage, we were very willing to participate in this matter, willing to be a stepping stone, and willing to help young people take Chinese creative ideas to the world!" Wang Jiangan said.
After eight hours of rotating proposals, the players in the integration, public relations, media, and marketing categories completed the final clearance on the first day of the final review. The fierce competitive atmosphere and the expectation of representing Chinese creativity on the world stage made the players feel pressure: some players lacked stage experience and did not complete the plan within the specified time. Some players were nervous and forgot their lines, and some players forgot to turn pages of their presentation... Due to the particularity of the English language proposal, the various situations that have occurred in previous years are still being staged at the final stage of this year.
In fact, players didn’t have to be too timid. The professional judged may have had demanding requirements but they were also compassionate.
After the first day of the contest, the 10 judges stayed at the venue for 80 minutes of discussion. They first agreed on the criteria for each category, and then expressed different opinions on the specific performance of the players, and then formed a consensus through negotiation . For example, some judges suggested: "There are some planners and some artists. There are naturally different expressions of different positions. There are still many skills to be taught around pitching and proposing work. We will eventually look for 'big idea', rather than simply focusing on the performance."
There were also suggestions from the judges to “change the category of competitors who had performed well but may miss the opportunity” and have been recognized by most judges. The judges wanted to make sure the competitors had as good a chance as possible to do well. But, unfortunately, because of the competitions strict rules, that idea could not come to pass.
The judges also found that some of the higher-scoring works actually took a lazy approach. When all the judges learned about this situation, they found that it would be unfair to other players and re-evaluated their ranking.
Although they come from different companies and different fields, the judges’ goals were the same. It is to let as many outstanding creative people as possible enter to the international arena as much as possible, in order to make Chinese creativity shine.
The Young Lions is 11 years old. If this competition differs to previous years it is because the industry, judges and competitors have a deeper appreciation of the future.
Everything about this competition is focused on the future. Whether it’s the REDSPACE’s products, the two year communications plan or the effort to help the young creatives attend Cannes and Spikes, it’s all looking to tomorrow. This year’s competition brought together the future of human travel, REDSPACE's business development, the career prospects of competitors and the development of the ad industry’s talent pool. The future is, indeed, here and now.
On April 17th, after the players in the print, digital, film and television and design categories completed the final review proposal, the group presented a unique speech in the lecture hall.
Mo Kangsun teased apart the easily overlooked details of the proposal process; Lao Shuangen encouraged young creative people to break the old rules while ensuring that their ideas have a solid foundation on which to stand; Liang Weifeng discussed the problems encountered by competitors over the two-day judging process and encouraged them by teaching them how to perform better on the stage. It was hoped that this targeted guidance would both help the Young Lions and Young Spikes competitors as well as inspiring the wider creative industry.
Finally, the organisers announced the winners list, seven teams (14 individuals) will go to the Cannes Lions International Creative Festival to participate in the global Young Lions competition, while 16 groups (or 32 individuals) will be recommended to Singapore Spikes Asia to participate in the Young Spikes competition.