Industry changemakers demand a #CannesForAll

Brixton Finishing School, DigiLearning Foundation and Lollipop Mentoring have come together to drive diversity at Cannes Lions

Josie Shand



Brixton Finishing School, DigiLearning Foundation and Lollipop Mentoring have come together to launch #CannesForAll, a new campaign to drive diversity at Cannes Lions.

The campaign asks leaders to put their money where their mouths are and pledge 1% or more of their Cannes Lions 2023 activation budgets to supporting emerging, diverse talent on the ground.

Brixton Finishing School is one of the leading accelerators in training diverse talent preparing to enter the world of advertising. While DigiLearning runs groundbreaking programmes educating 16-30 year olds with relevant digital skills. Lollipop Mentoring is a free mentorship programme for mid-level Black women in advertising and marketing. The three organisations, all run by women, have come together to bring 12 talented people to Cannes Lions 2023. Four people from each programme will have the opportunity to experience Cannes Lions in person.

As the largest gathering of the creative marketing community in the world, the need for better inclusion at the festival has long topped the industry agenda. The alliance is calling for organisations, leaders and artists to do just that. By funding new emerging talent that can push progress forward, the industry will pave the way for a better future.

Money pledged will go towards the £50,000 target that is set to bring talent to the heart of the industry. The money raised will contribute to the accommodation, transport, living, safeguarding and promotional costs at the festival. Any money pledged over the target will be split equally across the three businesses to support structurally excluded talent and the work for toward their inclusion and success.

“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.” explained Sarah Wilson, Co-Founder of DigiLearning.

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.

Supporters will also have access to the founders of the #CannesForAll initiative, recognised as some of the industry’s most influential changemakers; Ally Owen, Sarah Wilson, Lisa GoodChild and Maria McDowell.

“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” explained Ally Owen, Founder, Brixton Finishing School.

 "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.” says Maria McDowell, Founder, Lollipop Mentoring, “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". 

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