Lights, Cannes, action: six chosen for advertising’s ‘Young Lions’

Lenny Abrahamson to direct ad for Peter McVerry Trust as part of IAPI scheme

Six young advertising professionals have been chosen to represent Ireland at the Cannes Lions festival's "Young Lions" competition in June.

The three teams of two will compete against international advertising talent aged 30 or younger in France with the support of the Institute of Advertising Practitioners in Ireland (IAPI) and its sponsors for the scheme, Google, Shutterstock and Wide Eye Media.

Laura Halpin and Ronan Jennings from the agency Havas have been selected for the Young Lions film category, while Ciara Harrison from Carat and Johanna Molloy from Vocal will compete in the cyber category, and David Thompson and David Wright from Starcom are the Irish picks in the media category.

For the IAPI selection process, candidates were asked to come up with a campaign for the homeless charity Peter McVerry Trust. As the film category winners, the "highly impactful and emotional" ad proposal from Halpin and Jennings will be shot by Oscar-nominated director Lenny Abrahamson and produced by the company Pull The Trigger. It will run in Irish cinemas later this year.


Abrahamson, “a big admirer” of the work of the charity, says he is also happy to be involved because advertising was “a big part” of his development as a film-maker. “The opportunity to try new technologies, push performances and squeeze a narrative into 30 seconds was a great training ground.”

IAPI chief executive Tania Banotti says the organisation was "delighted and excited for them all" and would be working with the six on sample campaigns to "ensure they're match-fit" for June.

IAPI has been on a mission to increase Irish representation at the annual “Oscars” of the advertising world.

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery

Laura Slattery is an Irish Times journalist writing about media, advertising and other business topics