Can we win it? Yes we Cannes

… (Spoiler alert – we didn’t actually win) 

Our creatives Doug Redfern and Joe Roberts recount their experience of competing in the World Under-30’s Print Competition at Cannes.

The back story – last summer we finished university. Teamed up. Got a placement at WCRS. Got a job at WCRS. Entered UK Cannes Young Lions Print competition. Won UK Cannes Young Lions Print competition. Won a trip to Cannes to compete in the World Under-30’s Print Competition, all after three months in the industry. Hopefully that’s everyone up to speed.

After the obligatory photos out of the aeroplane window were taken on Doug’s disposable camera, we landed at Nice airport and weighed up whether getting an Uber helicopter to Cannes was a good use of almost half our spending money? After deciding against it, we got a shared taxi to our hotel, with its two stars shimmering proudly above the main entrance. We checked ourselves in, put some shorts on, and headed out to have a wander around the festival itself.

Joe is from the North-West, and is somewhat familiar with the coastline. Doug, however, comes from right in the middle of the Midlands. So at first sight of the sea, all previous plans were out the window. After 20 minutes of paddling were over, and Doug was again at one with the world, we headed for our briefing. On arrival, we have to admit, it felt a little like a mix between Eurovision and The Tri Wizard Tournament from Harry Potter.


As teams from 50 different countries piled into the room, you could feel the competitive atmosphere brewing. Also, one of the competitors bore a strong resemblance to Viktor Krum (the one that turns into a shark). After being given an overview of the brief, we had the rest of the night to mull it over, before starting work early the next morning. We entered the competition area and found the booth marked UK. Every country had an identical set up, with one iMac per team.

We set about it with our usual process, one that had proved effective in the UK stage of the competition. We wrote down everything obvious that came into our heads in the first ten minutes, and agreed not to run with any of them. That way, we knew we should have something that stands out. After a couple of different ideas were explored, and dismissed, we settled on a final poster concept, worked at producing it and handed it in an hour before the deadline, feeling quietly confident we were in with a shot.

With the competition behind us, we donned our bucket hats, and headed to the beach. To our astonishment, we realised there was a free bar… We started the next morning, somewhat reluctantly, with a full English and a lot of coffee. Then we headed to the results area to see how we had fared.

Unsurprisingly, the ceremony was running a touch late, meaning tension was building in the room. After hearing that second and third place were not us, we were on tip-toes, practising our best acceptance handshakes, before being firmly sat down by the news that Italy had won the 2017 Print award. Many congratulations to them, and everyone else involved in a strong year of competition.

As for our story, being 22 and 23 and so early in our career, earning the chance to experience the Cannes Lions Festival in full flow has made us hungrier than ever to kick on. So, hopefully we’ll be back next year to pick up a Grand Prix or two.

First published in Campaign