Meet the young lions of McCann Beograd, representatives of Serbia at the Cannes Lions festival

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At the recently held Young Lions 2023 competition for Serbia, the jury chose the best solution designed by Nevena Petrović and Nikola Mijailović from McCann Beograd under the slogan “Pregledaj se!” Meni za ljubav”. Their work in the print category is a response to the brief from Ženski centar Milica, an association for the support and representation of patients with breast cancer and cervical cancer, on the topic of prevention. We talked with Neven and Nikola about the creative process and teamwork that brought them to the podium, as well as their expectations from going to Cannes.

How different is the approach of a copywriter and a designer for the same brief?

Nikola: I don’t think it necessarily differs, but in most cases the designer will initially look to respond to the brief with a solution that visually carries a strong message, while the copywriter will look to wrap the message in words. The problem arises when one side has to sacrifice its part, and in ideal circumstances both design and copy send the same message with the same volume, each in their own way.

Nevena: It depends on the brief itself. In this case, our approach was quite different as I looked at the task as potentially the entire campaign, while Johnny focused on a specific poster and the fact that we were competing in the print category. I don’t even know how many times we read the brief word for word to decide which direction to go.

Within the Young Lions competition, the deadline for creating a solution is extremely short, how did that affect you and your creativity?

Nevena: We were pretty quick to reject ideas that weren’t clear at first, which ultimately led us to come up with the right idea. The short deadline had the biggest impact on our sleep and the fact that we could have refined the presentation even more, if we had had more time for it.

Nikola: We came to the final idea relatively quickly, the bigger problem than the lack of time was to decide whether to stick with that idea and immediately develop it completely or to use another hour to come up with another, potentially better idea. Such a short deadline only forced us to react and work faster.

What was the decisive moment when you decided that “Meni za ljubav” will be the highlight of your campaign? Have you thought about any other directions?

Nevena: I would like to hear how Johnny answers this question. I knew right away that this was it, while he wanted us to think a little more. There was a lot of controversy, we tried some other directions, but in the end we still came back to this one, because somehow we believed in it the most.

Nikola: There were a lot of proposals from both sides, most of them weak, of course, but there were also a few that were not as bad as the final one. However, the final concept best suited the brief and seemed the most rounded of all. The decisive moment was somewhere around 3 in the morning when we could no longer create or argue.

Why did you decide to send the message about the importance of breast cancer prevention from a non-female perspective?

Nevena: Ugh. Many things led to it, it was not an idea at “first”. The task was to make the message comprehensible to women in rural areas, to be motivating and not to scare them despite the terrible statistics. The fact is that their family and loved ones come first. At one point, it just occurred to us what would better motivate women to go for an examination, to the messages of their loved ones: “Get yourself examined, for love’s sake”. That’s when we realized how important it is to send the message from a male point of view. An additional motive was the worrying statistics of marriages and relationships that failed after the discovery of cancer in women.

What do you expect from going to Cannes?

Nevena: To be shocked by the prices! Honestly, I don’t think we can even imagine what awaits us there. Our focus is primarily on competition, but also on having a good time.

Nikola: I expect us to do as much as we can in the competitive part, and after that, whatever the results, to have a really good time at those parties that everyone mentions so much and of course learn a lot at the lectures that get mentioned a little less.