Students taking part in the Future Lions Competition are asked to answer a brief: to produce an innovative idea for a product or service for any audience, with the power to create the future. Each year, the five teams that stand out are invited to the Festival to come and pitch their ideas to industry leaders for the chance to win. The competition has gained a reputation for kick-starting the careers of many of today’s creative leaders. Over the past decade, almost 99% of Future Lions winners have gone on to land jobs at some of the world’s most prestigious global agencies and brands.
Beginning with Future Lions alumni and AKQA’s own Peter Lund, these are just some of the ‘where are they now?’ stories from Future Lions winners who went on to do great work towards creating the future of the industry.
“Awards have been important for so many reasons. I aspire to do the best work in our industry and for that you need to set a goal.”Peter Lund, European Executive Creative Director, AKQA
Now European Executive Creative Director at AKQA, Peter won a Future Lion for A Penguin’s Tale, a Twitter-style book designed to propel Penguin Books into the digital age back in 2010.
With wins in both the Young Lions Media Competition and the AKQA Future Lions Competition to his name before he’d graduated, Peter’s continued success at the Festival has been a defining part of his early career. He’s worked with Nike, Google, Chanel, Hérmes, Airbnb, Disney, Red Bull and Oakley and, in 2011, spearheaded the opening of the 10th AKQA office in Paris where he leads the creative department. Peter reached new heights back in 2019 when he took home a Silver Lion in Film Craft for It’s OK, an intimate yet grand piece of work for sports performance and lifestyle brand, Oakley.
"At Cannes Lions last year, we won an award for an Oakley project – a storytelling piece that really transformed the way that Oakley has communicated for many years, really broadening their audience.”Peter Lund, European Executive Creative Director, AKQA
Co-founder and CCO of creative agency, Lanfranco Cordova, Gian Carlo and his partner Rolando Cordova were the first ever Future Lions winners.
Currently Chief Creative Officer at independent creative ideas and innovation company, Barkley, Katy won in 2008 for her team’s work on Starbucks Signature.
Katy’s story started with a win in the Future Lions Competition for a project that turned Starbucks fans into brand ambassadors. Less than two years into her time at Barkley, she was promoted to Creative Director and has since worked across brands including Hershey, WingStop, Vanity Fair Lingerie and Cargill. Today, Katy leads integrated teams across Creative, Content, Production and Barkley Films as CCO. Her wins at Cannes Lions include Bronzes in the 2018 PR Lions for The Most Well Reviewed City On Amazon: a piece of work for Kansas City Economic Development that saw the city’s mayor hack a product review system to win Amazon’s attention in a pitch for Kansas to become the home of their new North American HQ.
Co-founder of production company New Land, Gustav, won the fourth Future Lions Competition for his team’s work on Fortum Active for clean energy company Fortnum.
Gustav’s team won in the early years of the Future Lions Competition, for an innovative idea that encouraged people to engage with their own energy consumption. Since then, Gustav has established himself as one of Scandinavia’s new generation of directors, working with brands like H&M, HBO, Levis, Volvo, Vogue, Lexus, IKEA and Nike. In 2015, he founded Stockholm and Copenhagen-based production company, New Land, together with producer Erik Torell. New Land saw huge success at Cannes Lions with a Gold-winning piece of work for the UN World Food Programme back in 2015, with Gustav credited as director of the moving film featuring footballer Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Future Lions is AKQA’s global student creative competition that challenges students to produce innovative ideas that will create the future.