Staff Reporters
Sep 7, 2012

Cannes Lions and Gates Foundation expand 'Aid is working' challenge

GLOBAL - Based on the strong response to their first contest, The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation have launched a new phase of their communications challenge under the rubric 'Aid is working: Tell the world'.

Cannes Lions and Gates Foundation expand 'Aid is working' challenge

The initial contest, launched earlier this year, invited communications ideas aimed at breaking through hesitancy about aid to the developing world by showing that it works.

The organisations received more than 900 applications from 85 countries and are now selecting the 10 finalists, who will be announced in November. Each will receive US$100,000 in seed funding to develop their idea, as well as an invitation to join the all-star members of the Cannes Chimera at the Gates Foundation in Seattle for a mentorship experience. After that, one winner will receive up to US$1 million to put their idea into action. 

"The response to this first communications challenge has been overwhelming in terms of the creativity and the vision of the entries it's prompted," said Philip Thomas, Cannes Lions CEO. 

Based on the strong response, the organisations decided to launch a new challenge with more focused guidelines. Specifically, entrants are asked to submit:

  • Ideas that can be implemented via mobile telecommunications
  • Ideas involving new ways to communicate data on aid
  • Ideas that engage young audiences
  • Ideas that demonstrate the progress of aid 

As before, entrants are limited to two sides of A4 paper. The deadline is 7 November. The organisations have gathered a new Chimera of international ad-agency leaders, who will advise on the programme, review submissions, and mentor the winners. The new panel includes Graham Fink, chief creative officer of Ogilvy Shanghai.

In the first phase, the highest number of entries came from the US, China, UK, India, Canada, South Africa, Romania, Australia, Brazil, Kenya and Nigeria. The creative communications community contributed more than 30 per cent of the entries, with other entries coming from international development organisations and academic institutions.

"The participation from the creative communications industry has exceeded our expectations — testament to the spirit of our community to put to good use the power of creativity to solve a global problem," Thomas said.

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