Lions Health, the Festival and Awards that celebrate life-changing creativity in healthcare communications, and UNICEF, have announced the winner of the 2016 Young Lions Health Award.

The competition called upon communication and marketing professionals under the age of 30 to submit integrated marketing toolkits that aim to raise awareness among caregivers about the importance of play in fostering children’s cognitive, social and emotional development in the critical early years of life. The ideas will be used as part of UNICEF’s overall communication outreach on Early Childhood Development.

Eleanor Howe and Lina Benmansour of DigitasLBi, France, won with Unicef Brain Food.

Their idea answered the brief innovatively, by using everyday objects to stimulate play, and providing creative ways for caregivers to interact with children.

The competition drew 112 entries which were judged by a team of industry experts and special guests, including UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira; Alexandra von Plato, Group President, Publicis Healthcare Communications Group; and Josh Prince, President, The CDM Group.

“It is scientifically proven that development in the early years of life allows children to become creative, engaged, life-long learners – it can shape their entire future,” said UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira. “That’s why it was truly inspiring to see the creative ideas presented to help shine a spotlight on the importance of early childhood development. The winning idea not only has the potential to give early childhood development the prominence it deserves, but also to achieve real results for children. It doesn’t get more exciting than that.”

Louise Benson, Festival Director, Lions Health, said, “We were thrilled to receive such an exciting range of entries and it was a tough decision for our panel to pick just one winner. This award not only supports young industry talent, but also raises crucial awareness to help improve the wellbeing of young children across the world.”

To enter the competition, individuals or teams of two were set the challenge of creating either a three minute presentation film or eight image PDF that answered a communications brief issued by UNICEF. The competition was free to enter and open to young agency and client executives.

“It is remarkable that young marketers from across the world have created toolkits that will help to raise awareness about the importance of early nurturing care and protection for children’s development. We are grateful for their inspiration and ideas. It is a pleasure to work with Lions Health and UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador Shakira on this initiative,” said UNICEF Chief of Early Childhood Development, Pia Britto.

As part of their prize, the winners of the Young Lions Health Award are attending Lions Health on 18-19 June in Cannes, France, where they will receive their award during the official ceremony attended by close to 1,000 experts from the healthcare communications industry.

UNICEF will also host a related session as part of Lions Health, exploring how to ensure the next generation of young people has the creative talent to change the world and how development in a child’s early years can nurture their creative future. Speakers will include Sherrie Westin, Executive Vice President of Global Philanthropy and Impact, Sesame Workshop; Al Race, Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University; Deepa Grover, Regional Adviser for Early Childhood Development, UNICEF and Jack Leslie, Chairman, Weber Shandwick.

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