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Young Cannes Lions Competitions
Dentsu’s young creatives share their experiences at the prestigious competitions

“We were able to compete at the Young Cannes Lions thanks to the support we received from a large number of people. Thank you very much for this precious opportunity to compete on an international stage.”

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

From June 17 to 19, the Young Lions Competitions 2017 were held in Cannes, France. These competitions are commonly referred to as the “Young Cannes Lions.” Sent to represent Japan were the cream of the crop of the country’s young planners, who pitted their talents and ideas against rivals from around the world. Dentsu sent five participants to compete in three sections, working on the tasks set in their respective competitions.

Cyber Category

On the day of the main competition, I (Tatsuya Ogawa) trembled when I actually saw Japan’s national flag displayed on the work booth I was to use during the competition. I remember my emotions suddenly becoming much more focused, and thinking to myself, “I’m going to do it, I’m going to win this.” Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to win the prize. Immediately after the results were announced, I felt envious of the winning entry, but later, when I had a chance to look at the winner’s work calmly from the jury’s perspective, I realized that it was indeed a compelling entry. It was an idea that grasped the task criteria, made insights and had the potential to change people’s behavior. To successfully compete against participants from other countries— people who are directly exposed to a diverse array of issues all the time—I understood the necessity of training my consciousness on a daily basis. Specifically, I recognized the need to think about what is happening in the world today, and consider how many of the world’s problems can be solved through the power of ideas. Although it may sound somewhat hollow coming from someone who lost in the competition, after seeing the ideas generated by people from various countries, I felt that I was not so far from the level of my peers globally.
Opportunities to compete purely on the power of our own ideas are rare. And this type of opportunity is unique to the young version of a competition like this. It was very stimulating to compete with people of my own generation in a situation where people openly display their ambition and are enthusiastic to show what they can do. I intend to polish my skills and be even more prepared to compete and win next year.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

(From left) Tatsuya Ogawa, Dentsu Digital, Kenta Kuzuhara, CDC, Dentsu

PR Category

I (Ryo Nakagawa), together with Takuro Yamawaki, have entered the domestic qualifying competition for the Young Cannes Lions 14 times each over the past seven years—a total of 28 times between the two of us. We lost in the qualifying round each time. Every year, we sighed at our unrewarded efforts after a grueling planning period and the results when we failed to reach the finals. Seven years have passed since we first paired up for the competition in 2010. This year, we were both drawing close to the upper age limit for entering the Young Cannes Lions. We drew on our experience and the lessons learned to date. We headed into this year’s domestic qualifying competition after thorough analysis and preparation. As a result, we were chosen to represent Japan from among more than 150 teams participating.
To describe our result this year simply as a “learning experience” would not adequately convey the myriad emotions I felt. I never thought that losing would be such a vexing experience. I felt a great amount of responsibility as the representative of my country. I also felt that our result didn’t do justice to the expectation of the people who had lost during the domestic qualifying round. I believed that the time I had spent qualifying as the representative of Japan gave me a greater appreciation than anyone of the value of this opportunity. I felt sad that I couldn’t meet the expectations of the people who had supported me. I was filled with regret toward my seniors at work who had taught me so much, and all the other people—inside an outside of Dentsu—who had given me support. The Young Cannes Lions brought me face to face with many emotions over a short period that felt much longer.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

(From left) Takuro Yamawaki, Radio, TV Division, Dentsu, Ryo Nakagawa, Account Management Division, Dentsu

Film Category

In the Creative Planning Division 3 where I (Minayo Aoki) currently work, many of my seniors have represented Japan at the Young Cannes Lions. I had observed these seniors since first being assigned to the division, and although I did not initially let on, I had felt that I too would like to try out for the competition. I formed a pair with Takaaki Mizumoto, an art director at Hakuhodo (he was my senior at university), who has strong English skills. After qualifying as a representative for Japan, we looked at the works of past winners, and practiced using the English-language versions of Adobe software. We also anticipated the kinds of tasks we were likely to be given and practiced shooting video based on our predictions. Hence, we headed into the challenge of the main competition after a careful preparation period.
However, regrettably, we were not able to win a prize. The key point I took on board from looking at the winning entry was the importance of creating a plan that could be understood at a glance. The thing that was memorable from the entries produced by representatives from 61 countries was that simplicity is the most important thing. In the competition, we were placed in a situation that would almost never occur during our normal work—two young staffers doing planning, editing and shooting on their own. Through having to deal with many uncertainties, we became strongly aware of our own weaknesses.
We had the experience of losing after submitting our work in a folder named “JAPAN.” I felt bad about it and for a while afterward was ambivalent about what I should do next year. However, one of my colleagues who joined Dentsu the same year as me said, “We’ll do battle again next year!” His optimistic attitude helped to renew my competitive spirit, and so I intend to try again next year. Let’s take up the competitive challenge once more!

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

(From left) Minayo Aoki, Creative Planning Division 3, Dentsu, Takaaki Mizumoto, Hakuhodo


Participants from Dentsu

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

Tatsuya Ogawa

Marketing Planner
Customer Engagement Design Department
Dentsu Digital Inc.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

Kenta Kuzuhara

Planner
CDC
Dentsu Inc.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

Ryo Nakagawa

Planner
Global Business Department
Account Management Division
Dentsu Inc.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

Takuro Yamawaki

Communication Designer / Planner
Communication Planning Department 6
Communication Planning Center / Radio, TV Division
Dentsu Inc.

Young Cannes Lions Competitions

Minayo Aoki

Writer / TV Copywriter
Creative Planning Division 3
Dentsu Inc.

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