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Cannes Lions Special Section

#CannesLions2016: Roaring for change

There's a strong focus on shaking up the global advertising industry for the better by improving diversity of entrants and jurors alike and letting the industry's underrepresented - both in gender and generation - shine brightly at Cannes Lions this year. Here's how.

Global advertising award shows that purely exist to celebrate the ‘old boys club’ are a thing of the past. The focus, particularly in 2016, is on enhancing diversity across race, gender and age in the advertising industry, so as to give all an equal opportunity to experience the glitz and glamour usually reserved for those who are a little glazed over at the thought of yet more 'creativity'. Cannes Lions is leading the pack and positively roaring for change this year.

You’ll likely have heard of the Cannes Young Lions, where a team of creatives aged 30 years and under, gets the opportunity to experience the Cannes Lions. This is crucial as it gives young creatives international perspective on advertising best practice, which in turn bolsters their careers and lets them carve out a distinctive career profile within the market place.

Then there’s the 'See It Be It' Cannes Lions initiative, which launched in 2014 after Cindy Gallup’s supports and develops the industry's vastly underrepresented female creatives. Sponsored by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg's Lean.In, it brings to light the lack of female directors in Hollywood and the importance of marketing to women in the fourth wave of feminism, while giving females at the top of their game the boost they need to further their careers and shatter that glass ceiling. Click here to view the just-released list of 'See It Be It' participants for 2016.

2015's See it Be it 2015 delegates with actor Adrian Grenier.
2015's See it Be it 2015 delegates with actor Adrian Grenier.

In addition to this, the 63rd Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity will see a 40% female jury overall. Four of those are South Africa’s own Suhana Gordhan, Emma Carpenter, Fran Luckin and Jenny Glover. Click here for more on the South African judging contingent.

Celebrating good work that does good

Then, when it comes to the awards themselves, nothing sparkles with brighter promise of change for good than the Glass Lion: The Lion for Change. Introduced in 2015, it’s an award that Tshireletso Yvonne Diogo, GM of promotions and trade marketing at Ster-Kinekor Theatres says, “honours ad campaigns that address issues of gender inequality or prejudice.” The much-talked about Always “#LikeaGirl” and Under Armour “I Will What I Want” campaigns are excellent examples of this.

Seems it’s time for the underrepresented to finally get the recognition they deserve. Click here for last year’s full list of Glass Lion winners and visit for more information.

About Leigh Andrews

Leigh Andrews AKA the #MilkshakeQueen, is former Editor-in-Chief: Marketing & Media at, with a passion for issues of diversity, inclusion and equality, and of course, gourmet food and drinks! She can be reached on Twitter at @Leigh_Andrews.

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