Unilever, Unicef and Cannes Lions team for new Young Health Award

Unilever, Unicef and Lions Festivals have partnered for the launch of a new Health Award for young entrants to create a campaign championing child health and sanitation.

The Young Lions Award will task communication and marketing professionals under the age of 30 to create a campaign which takes an integrated approach to generating awareness and supports a variety of issues around child health and sanitation that have previously been fragmented.

Speaking to The Drum at a press launch of the award last night (17 February) Unilever chief marketing and communications office Keith Weed said that the FMCG giants involvement comes as it looks to “innovate a new business model” which has social and environmental sustainability at its core.

“We’re the largest tea company in the world and the largest ice cream company in the world and we want to be part of the solution. We don’t think being part of the solution is to have a nice CSR project, its more about reinventing the way we do business and within that finding ways to work with small holder famers in more sustainable ways or indeed looking at the whole value chain.”

Weed said the payback for Unilever’s involvement with the award is about the growth of its brands, reducing costs and a more sustainable future, but warned that companies need to work together as a whole to create a real difference.

“What’s absolutely clear is that Unilever could achieve all of its objectives in sustainability and make no difference in the world. The only way we can make a difference is if we start joining together other companies, governments and NGOs to make an impact.”

Speaking about Unicef’s involvement Gerard Bocquenet, director of fundraising and partnerships, said that the collaboration is “precisely the type of bold and innovative initiative required to leverage public engagement to create lasting change for the most vunerable children.

Entries for the award open on the 25 February, and entrants have until 27 March to submit an idea that can work across multiple channels including traditional, digital and social media. The campaign needs to be global but with flexibility to be locally amplified.

Philip Thomas CEO Lions Festival added, “We honestly believe that if we can harness our own creative community of people whose job it is to change people’s minds and people’s behaviour and [challenge] those creative people to do good, then they will really take on that challenge.

“We need partners like Unicef and Unilever who also have this passion to try to move things forward and that’s why we’re launching this competition.”

Winners will be announced on 19 June and will receive their award at the Lions Health Awards Ceremony on 19 June in Cannes.

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