From storytelling to storyliving – The Young Lions Storytelling Academy

Cannes Lions, Festivals, Training

Among the novelties of the 61th Cannes Lions Festival, we counted The Young Lions Storytelling Academy, joining the series of Roger Hatchuel, Planners, Account Executive, Media, Creative or Young Marketers Academies.

The Young Lions Storytelling Academy was an intensive learning program focused on the art of storytelling and the positive impact it can have on brands. The key learning objectives included themes like brand ecosystems, branded content development or interactive and emotional storytelling.

The Academy was led by Keith Reinhard, the Chairman Emeritus of DDB Worldwide Communications Group, Inc., one of the world’s largest and most awarded advertising agency networks. Keith is one of the few agency leaders to rise through the creative side of the business, working as a writer, art director and creative group head before moving into agency management. In fact, he was the the first American to serve as president of a Cannes Lions Jury back in 1984, before returning 15 years later as Film Jury President in 1999.

The Academy Tutor was Mary Lee Copeland – a storytelling expert and international advertising maven, currently the Executive Creative Director and driving force behind The Storytelling Academy – a production agency based in Sweden and USA.

Among the invited speakers were PJ Perreira – Pereira & O’Dell, Ben Priest – Adam&Eve DDB or director Joe Pytka, today’s inspiring Lions to train the future ones.

The speakers made it clear that storytelling rises from storyliving and it has done so since the beginning of the human civilization, as a form of knowledge exchange and experience sharing.

The Young Lions were taught how to harmonize stories with brands and how to ask the most relevant question when working with brands: „Why the brand exists” is the question to be asked more than “Who is”,  „What your brand does” and ”How it does it”, as it refers to the ultimate value that a story can offer to a brand: meaning.

“A product without a story is a commodity. A product with a story is a brand.” was the phrase on which Keith Reinhard insisted the most during the classes.

The training also focused on immersive, interactive and non-linear storytelling, manifested in the context of the new digital era. Keith pointed that now is the best period to create, since back in the 50’ there was the „Creative Revolution” which used elements like emotion or humor, followed the „Digital distraction era” in the late 90’ – when people where overwhelmed by technology. Now there is this great period that he entitles „The Ultimate Revelation”, which brings emotion and humor together with the digital miracle.

Exceptional brand stories to be born and Young Lions to be awarded. Look at the two pictures below and imagine what happened in between. That would be the story of the Young Lions Storytelling Academy.

Material written by Lucian Talpes