Future Lions Winners Bring Social Justice Through Advertising

By margauxweisman 

Today, as part of the 58th Cannes Lions fest in France,  AKQA announced the 2011 winners of its 6th annual Future Lions competition (watch winning films here).

The competition invited students (in any field) over the age of eighteen to submit campaigns that “advertise a product from a global brand in a way that couldn’t have been one five years ago, to an audience of your choosing.” When we think “global brand,” we tend to think big fish like Nike and and McDonald’s. After all, coming up with unprecedented ways to sell expensive sneakers or artery-clogging burgers is exceedingly difficult. What’s most inspiring about the Future Lions competition, is how the top contestants gravitate towards campaigns that aren’t just innovative for their use of the chosen brand, but also have a social conscience and the capacity to actually…er…well, for lack of a better term, change the world.

Three out of four of the winning entries hailed from Miami Ad School but the diversity of thought was astounding.
“Netflix Places” by Gabriel T. Garcia and Felipe Sampaio banks on Millennials’ obsession with pop culture. Netflix Places is a web feature and an app that allows you to visit the locations where your favorite movie scenes unfolded and earn Netflix points while doing so.

“Flowers from Facebook” is Yasmina Boustani and Katharina Schmitt’s proposal for the re-personalization of birthdays. Write a Facebook post wishing a friend “Happy Birthday” and the company 1-800-Flowers will send them a pretty posy that very day. Her idea capitalizes on this generation’s yearning for a quaint, throwback alternative to the digital hand they’ve been dealt.
Per Sturesson and Eddie Ahgren targeted office workers with “Powernap” from World Wildlife Fund. Powernap is an app that puts your computer to sleep when it senses your mobile device has left the vicinity, and wakes it up when you return.
While “Powernap” plays into the Green fad that has taken over marketing in the past eighteen months, the stand-out winner is definitely Matilda Kahl and Jacob Sempler’s “Balls of Pride,” a campaign that would help GLAAD rally support from an untapped demographic: heterosexual males.  Go ahead and watch the video.  If you’ll excuse me, I have to go listen to “Man in the Mirror” on repeat and think about what I’m doing with my life that even compares to what these college students have done so far.

Balls of Pride (student project) from Jacob Sempler on Vimeo.

The board of judge are all part of the AKQA team, and they are no strangers to outside-the-box ideas that incorporate new media. They launched #Posey’s Cast, where Giants’ fans can tweet to sign Buster Posey’s cast.

Previous Future Lions winners have gone on to pump their creative juices at such agencies as Crispin Porter + Bogusky, Wieden+Kennedy, Saatchi & Saatchi, Jung von Matt and Mother.