Young Glory posts a new brief for Ukraine

The international creativity competition has halted its annual contest for a vital humanitarian cause.


International creativity competition Young Glory has put its annual contest on pause and waived its membership fee with a new brief that it has opened up to all creatives: help to save Ukraine.

Young Glory is a global competition in which participants answer a different brief every month over the course of eight months. Winners are typically announced at C2 Montreal.

IMG_7101But the new brief was prompted by a plea from the contest’s participants in Kyiv following Russia’s attack on the country on Feb. 24. Over the years, the competition has attracted submissions from around the world, including from the Ukraine, Russia, and other countries in the region. Its overall winners for the past two seasons hail from Ukraine. But that “didn’t really affect our decision to pause the competition and focus on this,” says founder Rafik Belmesk, who is also VP and head of strategy at Taxi. “We would’ve done it for anyone in that situation and asking us for help.”

Through the brief, which is posted on the competition’s website, Young Glory has put the call out to all creatives to submit their proposals for “any communication solution to stop Russian aggression in Ukraine; to bring the truth to Russian citizens and convince them, their army, and the leadership to stop the war and killing people.”

Belmesk acknowledges that it is unlikely that creative advertising could stop a war, but the primary goal of the competition is to get eyes on the situation unfolding in Ukraine and help in whatever way it can.

“Some problems are too big [for advertising to] solve, but if we can make a little part of the problem better for even one person, it’s our duty to do it,” he says. “I think as an industry, the impact we can have is showing solidarity to fellow members of the creative community – people just like you and your colleagues – who are going through something horrific and asking us to pay attention.”

But there is a major way in which communicators may have a role to play. Despite thousands of Russians taking to the streets to protest their country’s actions, state-owned media has been limiting the information available to citizens about what is happening on the ground.

The brief is open for submissions until March 10, and all ideas will be published. Thanks to a donation from the festival itself, the team that comes up with the best idea will be rewarded with a trip to Cannes for this year’s Cannes Lions. Entries will be judged by a jury consisting of Belmsek, Pavel Vrzhesch, co-founder and CD of Banda Agency in Kyiv; and Polina Zabrodskaya, CD of AMV BBDO in London.

Since Russia began its campaign against Ukraine last week, numerous organizations have halted business dealings with Russian companies. Other awards programs Cannes Lions, The One Show and Clios have yet to comment on if they plan to maintain the pressence of Russian companies during their events or alter submission criteria for their award shows. But earlier this week, D&AD announced that while it would continue to accept entries from Russian agencies, all fees collected would be donated to the Art Directors Club of Ukraine, with fees from Ukrainian entrants being refunded.