Booze for scholarships: School of Communication Arts urges Cannes Lions ECDs to swap champagne for its fizz

Booze ransom at Sapient Nitrofish, Saatchi & Saatchi and 101 London

London's School of Communication Arts has targeted the well-stocked booze fridges of London ad agencies in a unique scholarship fundraiser urging creatives to buy its English Vintage Bubbly during the Cannes Lions festival.

The school hopes to reroute Cannes Lions champagne sales away from the hotel terraces of La Croisette to help fund scholarships. Instead of buying a $140 French bubble water, creatives are urged to pick up an exclusive SCA vintage bubbly, either in person or through the Indiegogo crowdfunder. The proceeds are to go straight into the school's scholarships, which it argues will increase access to poorer and/or more diverse applicants.

The school, a common contributor of talent to the advertising sector, is asking those at the top to give a little back, to help the SCA build upon the 60 scholarships (each costing $15,000) it has already offered.

Marc Lewis, dean of the School of Communication Arts, told The Drum the campaign was sparked when he caught wind of some unnamed ad execs complaining about the school’s supposed lack of diversity – over drinks.

This angered Lewis who, in an ironic twist, now hopes those same execs will drink SCA bubbly on the beachfront in Cannes this year, in turn aiding the very same issue they were complaining about.

Lewis has split his students up into four teams in the run up to the festival to raise awareness of the drive. One group is going around London padlocking agency fridges, holding the booze to ransom in exchange for a $140 wine sale. A barbaric bit of behavior to indulge in on on a Friday perhaps.

Lewis argued that some agencies are racking up drinks tabs as high as £1m and he wants to siphon some of that expenditure into a more noble cause. If each of the major agencies pitched in £500 a month on a direct debit (less than many spend on reception fruit, he argued), they'd be doing their bit to help solve the industry diversity issue.

He concluded: “If every executive creative director attending Cannes bought one bottle, we’d sort out diversity, not only helping out a great cause but also getting some good English wine.”

The end game is to sell 1,000 bottles. You can fill your pockets via the IndieGoGo page here, the campaign will run from now until the Cannes Lions festival.

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