Who needs a prompt to achieve greatness? This year, Pakistan shattered all expectations and emerged victorious on the grand stage of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2023. With three significant achievements under its belt, Pakistan proved that extraordinary accomplishments can happen unscripted. From winning at the Young Lions Competition to making history with a breakthrough social campaign, Pakistan showcased its creative prowess to the world. This is the beginning of what is yet to come!
We never imagined it, but this year, fate smiled upon us and we found ourselves at the legendary Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. It was a dream come true, an opportunity beyond our wildest imagination. As we stood among industry giants, representing Pakistan at the Young Lions Competition in the Digital Category, we realised that anything is possible when passion and talent converge.
“We were up against 28 teams from around the world, and the doubt crept in. Would our ideas hold up against the big guns?” I questioned myself along the way. But we persevered, weaving webs of brilliance. When the moment of truth arrived, Pakistan made the shortlist! The announcement of the winners hit us with a sense of triumph, like a rush of adrenaline. We had clinched the shiny Silver Lion!
For the first four days, we were just a couple of friendly neighbourhood marketing heroes. But when we won, the world saw us as ‘Team Pakistan’ not just Raaj and Ezza. It felt like winning the World Cup for our nation at Cannes!
“In a ground-breaking moment for Pakistan, we clinched the prestigious Silver Medal at the Young Lions Competition,” said Ezza Syed, Creative Manager, Adcom Leo Burnett, emphasising the significance of our win. “It was an honour to represent our country and showcase our creative capabilities on such a global platform.”
Adding to our big win, Sameer Ali, ACD, Adcom Leo Burnett, became the first Pakistani to graduate from the esteemed Young Lions Academy this year. In addition, he was among the 10 fortunate individuals chosen to join the Creative Academy on a scholarship. His experience was transformative, leaving him with lasting memories and a network of connections across 17 countries.
“My Cannes experience was all about making a name for Pakistan, proving that we can produce outstanding work just like any other country,” Sameer remarked. “The best week of my career, filled with inspiration, ideas, and motivation, reinforced my belief in the untapped talent within Pakistan.”
Adding to the list of achievements, English Biscuit Manufacturers (EBM), etched its name in history by winning Pakistan’s first Cannes Glass Gold Award. Their ground-breaking social campaign, ‘Schoolgirl Newscasters’ championed gender representation to drive social change.
EBM’s historic win affirmed that Pakistani companies possess the power to create meaningful impacts on a global scale. It showcased our commitment as a nation to pushing boundaries and using creativity to bring about positive transformation in society.
In addition to our victories, Ahmed Mustafa, ECD, Adcom Leo Burnett and Atiya Zaidi, MD & ECD, BBDO Pakistan, both pioneers of the Pakistani advertising industry, played a pivotal role as jurors. With their discerning eyes and profound insights, they brought a unique Pakistani perspective to the evaluation of campaigns from around the world.
“After seeing 400+ entries as a juror for outdoor and Young Lions, I realised that Pakistan, with its creatives, is no less than the global advertising giants,” Mustafa emphasised. “We are much more than oppressed sob stories and the third-world country label. Pakistan brims with undiscovered talent that is waiting to rule the world.”
Pakistan made an indelible mark at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity. From winning the first-ever Silver Medal at the Young Lions Competition to EBM’s historic Cannes Glass Gold Award, our achievements shattered barriers and showcased our creative prowess to the world. This is only the beginning of what lies ahead. Pakistan’s creative talents are poised to conquer new heights and redefine global standards. With passion, determination, and a touch of magic, we are ready to make waves in the creative realm. Watch out world, Pakistan is here to leave an unforgettable imprint on the canvas of creativity!
Raaj Kheraj is Senior Manager, Digital & User Experience, Adcom Leo Burnett.