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My art director Kate and I have entered the 2015 Cannes Young Lions IAPI selections. It’s been an exciting and hectic couple of weeks. Here’s how it went.

Thursday 5th February

The brief is out. We will have to create a campaign for MS Ireland, a charity helping people with multiple sclerosis. We’ve heard of the condition before, but it’s a bit vague in our minds. Time for research. We want to find out everything there is to know about MS. This is the start of a long weekend of reading, watching videos, and looking at previous cyber campaigns.

Monday 9th February

Time to share ideas with my teammate. No surprise there: our initial thoughts are the same. Meaning everyone else thought of it too. We decide to look for inspiration outside of the office and we head to the National Gallery. No luck there. It seems to be the day every school in Dublin picked for their field trip. Kids everywhere. During a moment of quiet I stare at the main painting in the room and wonder if the painter had that much trouble getting an idea.
We go back to the office feeling quite down. No strike of genius yet.

Wednesday 11th February

A Q&A session has been organised with Miriam from MS Ireland and Aisling from IAPI. We’re surprised to see that not all contestants showed up. This should give us a distinct advantage. After a little eavesdropping session I am relieved to realise that no one seems to have their idea yet. Reassuring, but it’s time to really start the thinking.

We decide to try a different approach. The museum didn’t work, so we head to a coffee shop after work. The noisy environment happens to make us more productive. We throw ideas at each other, think out loud in case a silly thought from one of us creates a spark in the other’s head. And it happens. We have an idea. We sit there for hours, discussing its different aspects while nursing a shared basket of chips. At 8:30, we pack up and go home, full of hope.

Thursday12th February

We’ve done some research about that new idea and it seems doable and original. But for some reason, it doesn’t feel quite as good as it did the day before. It’s a cool idea, but not award-winning.
And then it happens. We think of something. Kate can already visualise how pretty she’ll make it look and the copy has started writing itself in my head. We had the most productive morning ever at work, making sure that all was done so we could get out in the afternoon and develop that idea. We go to Starbucks, they let you stay there for hours without raising an eyebrow. As we discuss the new concept, we get increasingly excited. This is it. An idea we’re in love with and we can’t wait to see executed. The afternoon flies and we go home happy and confident.

Wednesday 18th February

We want to submit before Friday, just to be sure. So we should finish this today. It’s really busy at work so we can’t start our presentation until 6pm. As our colleagues leave the office one after the other, we lay out, design, Photoshop, tweak and tweak some more. It’s 9:30 when we leave, with only a few things to add tomorrow.

Thursday19th February

An even busier day at work. And I mean crazy busy. No time for Young Lions. We’re starting to panic a little. And our presentation doesn’t feel as right as it did yesterday. It’s unclear. We have to change its layout completely. That’s gonna take hours. We finally get to work on it at 6. At 9:30, we export the presentation as pdf and go though it. Some things are off. Back to InDesign. We repeat the process about 5 times, finding a new mistake every time. At 10pm, we press send. I don’t know if I feel pleasantly relieved or terribly worried.

Friday 20th Feb

It’s past deadline. Everyone has submitted. It’s out of our hands now. Whatever the outcome, we’re happy. We submitted something we are very proud of. And our team is stronger than ever.

When you enter that kind of competition, you never really expect to win. Because that would be insane, right? But we can’t help thinking: what if…

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