It’s huge, noisy and dressed in vivid colours. The artists and talent can blow your mind. No one gets enough sleep, and everywhere you look it’s Instagram gold.
We’re not talking about Glastonbury, the legendary music festival – we’re talking about the communicator’s equivalent, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. A place where we found a mesmerising fusion of inspiration, sun and genius.
A place where we were also fortunate enough to win a worldwide competition that brings together the best young marketers from around the globe to compete for gold, silver and bronze. We are so proud to have represented our country, and our employer Unilever.
We were up against 17 other teams, all aged under 28, and we had one day to produce a brief answering a global challenge for non-profit organisation, WaterAid. The competition was sponsored by global PR firm, Ketchum.
The young people we competed against were all keen as mustard, and already surging ahead in their careers.
Contesting against them was both intimidating and exhilarating. They all had enormous energy, passion and knowledge and we like to think that this brought out the best in us.
One thing that surprised us was just how nice they all were. We'd heard rumours of a fiercely competitive atmosphere – but what we actually found was a really fun bunch of enthusiastic, dedicated people, and we've made some great new friends.
When we delivered our presentation, we felt we had done the best we possibly could do. We wanted to help WaterAid reach a different audience and we’d worked hard to base our ideas on that principle.
It’s not an exaggeration to say our week in France has been magical. We chose that word deliberately because it feels like there must be a year’s worth of talks, seminars and parties – all jammed into one crazy week. So as a participant there are endless discoveries to be made.
Do you want to see David Guetta talk about brand collaborations, or how technology companies like Snapchat, Facebook and Twitter see the future?
After getting so much out of our week in the sun we have two pleas to others. Firstly that more young people step forward and compete to represent their brands, and the UK in the Young Lions competitions.
Secondly that the decision-makers who determine the delegations for Cannes send more young people. We believe they can be the greatest beneficiaries by far.
As you would at any good festival, we’ve encountered new groups, witnessed some eye-popping scenes and enjoyed plenty of laughs. It’s probably been the best thing that has ever happened to us in our careers.
For us Cannes wasn’t just another conference or meeting, it was like Glastonbury – an unforgettable, emotional week that left us feeling like lucky winners.
Grace Sobey is the global media manager foods at Unilever and Charlie Clinton is the assistant digital brand manager at Dove
This article was first published on www.campaignlive.co.uk