Ahead of the 2023 Young Lions Competitions in a few weeks’ time, we’re looking back at past competition winners and picking their brains on their Young Lions experience and tips and tricks they can share with this year’s competitors! We spoke to Tristan Bonnot-Parent (TBP), Digital Specialist, and Ana Matuk (AM) Media Design Assistant, both with Cossette Media during the competition, the winners of the 2022 Young Lions Competition in the Media Category.
Tell us a bit about yourselves – who you are, where you work, and what you do (the 30-second elevator pitch!)
TBP: My name is Tristan and I am a performance analyst at Cossette Media in Montreal. I’ve always been fascinated by numbers and statistics. I have never been a big video game player but I often joke that I’m an Excel Gamer. I also have a passion for graphic design. On a daily basis, I mix these two passions to try to find ways to present and vulgarize my different analyses. I love to communicate, convince and pitch!
AM: From media planning to project management to what now? I joined the advertising world right after finishing my degree without really understanding what it was, frankly, I’m still figuring it out. I fell in love with the creativity I was surrounded by daily, the people I was working with, and the fact that the challenge never stops. I’ve always loved new beginnings, so after over a year in advertising I tried project management, which was not my cup of tea. I am currently on a professional break, traveling around and reflecting on what’s next, which will most definitely be back to basics, aka advertising.
What was the most rewarding or memorable moment about competing (either domestically or globally/virtually)?
TBP: The national competition was a roller coaster of emotion for us. We started the 24-hour with an idea that we thought was solid and that we loved. We had our noses stuck in it so much that we were convinced it was the best idea. Around midnight, we had a big second thought and realized that our big idea was not that great, that it was too complex, and that the wow factor was slowly disappearing as we detailed the idea. Even though we were completely discouraged, we did a complete 180 and went with a brand-new idea. We finished in the early hours of the morning. When we found out that this idea was going to take us all the way to Cannes, the first thing I thought was, “imagine if you had given up instead of starting over at midnight” I think that’s what makes the victory and the experience even more rewarding.
AM: The 12 hour nap after our sleepless night during the national competition. No, but honestly the most memorable moment is when we had an illumination around midnight on how the idea we were working on the whole day was not actually that good. We did a complete 180 and started from scratch and I’m so glad we did. That night, it was the nuit blanche in Montreal, we finished almost 24 hours after the beginning of the competition and took the first-morning metro to go back home. The train was full of people still partying which gave us a little FOMO, all worth it now.
How did being crowned Canadian gold winners change, if at all, your perspective or approach to work?
TBP: I don’t think it changes everything. I think it’s a tremendous professional and personal victory, but it was important for me to keep my feet on the ground and continue to focus on learning every day at work. Nevertheless, it’s a huge confidence boost and every time I think that I don’t have the experience or knowledge to bring my ideas to the table, I think about this victory and I tell myself that all ideas can go far. Sometimes even as far as Cannes…
AM: I would say it didn’t change that much for me except that I feel more confident about speaking my points of view despite my title/position. Other than that, I’m still young on the working market and I know that I have tons to learn. I listen, I learn and I try.
What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to YL Competitors heading into the competition weekend?
TBP: I think the first thing I would say is don’t “fall in love with an idea”. I think it’s super important to be able to step back and evaluate our ideas objectively. And that’s really hard, especially when you’ve been working on an idea for 12 hours straight. I would also say forget about your job title and experience. Young Lions is all about having the right idea at the right time and being able to communicate it effectively and there is no title or seniority that guarantees that. And that’s the beauty of Young Lions!
AM: I think the best part of the competition is that we’re not alone, being a team of two gives us a better perspective. Sometimes we are so deep in our heads/minds that we don’t question whether the idea is good or clear enough. I’d say keep challenging each other and your ideas even though you think it’s great. Also, give it your 100% and encourage your partner to continue, whether it’s your first or 9th-time competition – keep each other motivated. Last thing: don’t underestimate the power of the pitch.
Talk to us about your experience at the virtual Global Young Lions competition. What were some highlights?
TBP: The experience at Global Young Lions was very similar to the national competition. The biggest difference is that we had the chance to see pitches from several other countries. As much as it is stressful and not necessarily fun to compare yourself, it is super enlightening. The other thing that was amazing about Global Young Lion was getting feedback from top people in agencies from all over the world and being able to learn from their experience and become better.
AM: The key to our National pitch, was the insight. In that sense, the Global competition was a little bit more challenging for us since we had to find an insight that was understood globally. Other than that, the national competition prepared us pretty well for what was coming, we elaborated a sort of “template” on what was important and we had lots of fun brainstorming ideas in a “smash or pass” kind of way.
About the Young Lions Competition
The Young Lions competition, happening this year over the weekend of March 4 – March 6, 2023, is where teams of two will participate in a live competition in their registered category (over a 24 to 48- hour period), modeled after the global competitions in Cannes. A brief for a not-for-profit organization will be unveiled when the competition begins.
The winners from our Canadian qualifying competitions will go on to compete in person at the Global Young Lions Competition taking place during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France from June 19-June 23, 2023.
Visit our competition website here for more information about Young Lions, including, how to register. Registration closes on February 17, 2023.
About the Globe and Mail
The Globe and Mail has been the Official Cannes Lions Festival Representative for the past 17 years and has had the privilege of sending over 60 Canadian teams to compete in the global competition that’s hosted in the south of France in Cannes against some of the best talents from around the world.
As the Competition Sponsor, The Globe awards a prize per Gold-winning team, which includes the registration fees for the virtual Global Young Lions Competition at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, delegate passes to attend the five-day festival, and the cost of flights and accommodation.