Rei Inamoto, Chief Creative Officer of new WPP asset AKQA is presenting the Future Lions at the Cannes Festival of Creativity. The Future Lions is a program that was created seven years ago to recognize the work of young people in the ad industry who wanted to showcase their own award-winning ideas.
Inamoto noted that in 2004, the program started on a humbling note, with only 34 entries. This year, he said it had grown to 1,077 entries, and required weeks of screening, just like the official main stage Media Lions categories.
More than that, Inamoto implied the Young Lions might have been having more of an influence on the old Lions than some big agency creative might otherwise like to admit. Basically, he said, the great ideas generated by the Young Lions are sometimes lifted a year or two later by the grown-up Lions entries.
In particular, he cited one of the first Young Lions entries, which he said is still one of his favorites. It featured technology that enabled billboards in two separate countries to interact with each other in a virtual soccer pitch.
The campaign, called “Global Penalty Kick,” enabled people in one country to vote to have a kicker kick the ball on their billboard left or right, and the people in another country to vote to have a goalie jump left or right to block it.
“We see an idea that gets presented in the actual Cannes Lions that was inspired by the Future Lions,” Inamoto, said, though he didn’t name any names. “I like to think that the Future Cannes Lion inspired the Gold Lion that was won the following year.”