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Google ANA Cannes Lions

R/GA & Cannes relaunch startup academy


By Doug Zanger, Americas Editor

February 9, 2016 | 3 min read

The largest barrier for startups, according to the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), is the “inability to articulately describe their offering in a meaningful and relevant manner.” Translated, it means that technologists aren’t well-equipped to share their marketing proposition with potential brand partners. Conversely, creative pros speak their own language and can help enhance the marketing power of emerging technologies.

Cannes Lions 2016

To bring both sides to the table, and to give startups profound guidance, R/GA and the Cannes Innovation Lions have announced the return of the Start-Up Academy, June 20-23 at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

Former participant Claus Moberg, CEO of SnowShowStamp, noted: “We desperately needed immersion exposure to the world of creativity and media, and that is exactly what the Lions Innovation Start-up Academy offered.”

Over the four days, selected startups will take part in workshops with senior marketers and enjoy inspirational sessions and keynotes from speakers drawn from the Cannes Lions festival stages. Applicant companies can be early, growth or later stage — with a working prototype and/or product in the market.

Over the past few years, R/GA Ventures has established quite a run through their programs including their own accelerator programs and one with the Los Angeles Dodgers, all designed to bring innovation closer to the agency’s work. Additionally, out of the 33 awards that R/GA won in Cannes last year, 14 were for startups that the agency worked with.

During the academy, R/GA and academy Dean Patrick Collister, creative director at Google Zoo, will lead a curriculum developed with the Cannes Innovation Lions to help start-ups sharpen their brand identity, focus business plans, and, ultimately, market themselves more effectively to key decision-makers about their products or services. The program concludes in an invitation-only demo event with an exclusive audience of media, agency executives, chief executives, innovation and marketing officers from some of the world’s biggest brands.

Speakers and mentors for 2016 will be announced soon. Last year's speakers included prominent A-listers such as Bob Greenberg, Chairman & CEO, R/GA; Sean Rad, CEO & Founder, Tinder; Michael Roth, CEO & Chairman, Interpublic Group; Yossi Vardi, Investor and Entrepreneur; and David Shing, AOL’s Digital Prophet.

Startups are encouraged to apply early for this no-fee course at the Start-Up Academy page on the Cannes Lions site.

Google ANA Cannes Lions

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