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Steve Babaeko, president, Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria and founder/CEO, X3M Ideas.

President of the Association of Advertising Agencies of Nigeria (AAAN), Steve Babaeko, has been selected by the organisers of the prestigious Cannes Lions Advertising Festival to function as a member of jury for the 2021 edition of its Young Lions Creativity Awards slated for this month (March).

Babaeko, founder/chief executive officer of X3M Ideas, who is arguably the most capped Nigerian international advertising jury, said he is excited at his selection by the Cannes Festivals as the role has the propensity to positively influence the younger and future generation of advertising practitioners .

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“I am extremely passionate about capacity building for generation next. As president of AAAN, one of the cornerstones of our agenda is to develop young practitioners so they can be even greater than us. That is why being on the Young Lions’ jury is a huge opportunity for me and our crop of young practitioners in Nigeria,” said Babaeko, who has featured at the New York Advertising Festival (three times), Lisbon Advertising Festival, Cristal Festivals, among others.

Citing Amanda Banfield, vice president Snacking and Marketing Services, Mondelez Europe, Babaeko charged leaders in the industry to “get clearer on what’s constant, what’s changing, and what shifts we need to make as leaders in our organizations”, saying this continuous reassessment is key to paving the way and moving the industry forward.

“Industry leaders as mentors and influencers must bring our mentees to speed to ensure a future for our industry,” he said.

This is not the first time Babaeko would take on assignments for Cannes Lions. In June of 2019, he was under the global advertising klieg light as he was invited by the organizers of the global advertising event to make a global presentation on the theme “Telling the Authentic African Story”.

He was selected by Adweek, a frontline American media conglomerate and the gatekeeper of the global marketing practice, as one of 2019 Adweek’s Creative 100, a group of distinguished practitioners otherwise described as “Most Fascinating People in Marketing, Media and Culture for the year”.

“If you’re under 30, the Young Lions competition is one of the best places at the festival to celebrate your creativity on a global stage,” Babaeko said.

“Anyone aged between18-30 can enter. You might be a student, working as a creative in an agency, a brand marketer, a coder, an artist, etc. Everyone is welcome provided you are born on or after March 5, 1989,” he said.

The competitions are designed to navigate participants through the New Creator’s Toolkit such that they would discover powerful tools to succeed in their creative journey. These include ideas & inspiration, putting skills into practice, career advice, brand perspectives, trends & insights, among others.

Participants will learn to answer creative briefs in a fast-paced, competitive environment. Working in a team of two in just 24 hours, they would also have the opportunity to showcase their talents in front of a prestigious jury, over 450 fellow competitors and the international festival community.

According to the organisers, the gold winners will be celebrated at the Cannes Lions Award Show and will collect their awards on stage, claiming a complete Cannes Lions pass and accommodation for next year’s festival.

Other members of the jury include Asawin Phanichwatana, deputy chief creative officer, GREYnJ UNITED, Bangkok, Thailand; Beryl Chung, creative director, MediaMonks, Netherlands; Ciro Sarmiento, chief creative officer, Weber Shandwick, USA; Franki Goodwin, creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi, UK, and Geet Rathi, creative director/design director, TBWA Mumbai, India.

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