Industry changemakers demand a #CannesForAll
Brixton Finishing School initiative asks businesses to pledge a percentage of their Cannes Lions 2023 activations fee to fund the attendance of emerging, diverse talent
26 January 2023
Brixton Finishing School, DigiLearning Foundation and Lollipop Mentoring announce the launch of their new campaign #CannesForAll which seeks to make the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity a more inclusive place. Following industry leaders calling for action around diversity and inclusion at Cannes Lions 2022 and beyond, this campaign asks these same leaders to put their money where their mouth is and pledge 1% or more of their Cannes Lions 2023 activation budgets to support emerging, diverse talent on the ground.
Brixton Finishing School, the leading accelerator in training diverse talent to enter the world of advertising, DigiLearning run groundbreaking programmes educating 16-30 year olds with relevant digital skills, and Lollipop Mentoring, a free mentorship programme for mid level Black women in advertising and marketing, are coming together to bring 12 talents - four from each programme - the Digilearning Foundation will include a student from the Marketing Academy Foundation - to Cannes Lions 2023.
As the largest gathering of the creative marketing community in the world, it is an important right of passage for future leaders and critical that the industry normalises the representation of all voices. This alliance is calling for organisations, leaders and artists to do just that- by funding the talent that can push progress forward.
Any money pledged will go towards the £50,000 target to bring talent to the heart of the industry. This money will go towards the accommodation, transport, living, safeguarding and promotional costs across the week. In exchange, businesses will have access to expert opinions from the full spectrum of talent available for their activities, which includes D&AD Pencil winners Holly Killen and DigiRise students Laiba Baig, and Elvire Matu.
Businesses will also have access to the founders of the #CannesForAll initiative; Ally Owen, Sarah Wilson, Lisa GoodChild and Maria McDowell, who are recognised as some of the industry’s most influential changemakers. Any money pledged over the target will be split equally across the three businesses to support structurally excluded talent and the work for their inclusion and success.
Ally Owen, Founder, Brixton Finishing School, said: “Cannes has traditionally been an exclusive club and a right of passage for future leaders. It’s not enough for Brixton Finishing School to build an equitable highway into the industry - we need to create equitable opportunities to rise when you arrive. By placing our talent at the heart of the festival we are giving them the best chance of being the next ECD or CEO”
Sarah Wilson, Co-Founder, DigiLearning, said: “The DigiLearning Foundation are delighted to be partnering with Brixton Finishing School and Lollipop Mentoring for our #CannesForAll initiative. We will bring underrepresented young creative talent to Cannes Lions to shake up the narrative. Our industry is capable of incredible things when we put our energy into it; and together we are excited to bring about a positive and meaningful impact at Cannes Lion 2023.”
Maria McDowell, Founder, Lollipop Mentoring, said: "This is a fantastic initiative, so often Cannes has been the event reserved for the esteemed few with the same senior leaders often taking up the opportunity year upon year. CannesIsOurs challenges this, and will ensure that mid-level Black women get the opportunity to experience, network and feel accepted in an environment which has excluded women that look like them for far too long. Talking is not enough. Our mentees and other Cannes attendees need to see more diverse representation across the board".