The Top 5 Student Advertising Contests Out There (Apart From YS Awards)


Kat and Vig (Senior Copywriter at BBDO and Art Director at Droga5, respectively) are the founders of Young Shits. I've been a big fan of the student ad competition since it launched almost three years ago, and made entering competitions more accessible and winning more useful. So I was super excited to have them write a Guest Pro email on their area of expertise. Let's get to it—here's Kat and Vig.

We run an advertising contest (Young Shits! Enter Now!), but obviously we’re not the only contest out there. There are like, hundreds. So we decided it was the contests’ turn to be judged, and we judged the hell out of them (except our own of course, because that’s biased). 

The shortlist is below. Maybe we’ll send the finalists a shiny trophy for their great achievement. It’ll be like Contest-ception.

We’d also like to note that the staff over here at Young Shits have applied for every damn one of these contests (and even won a few of them). If you hope to be a copywriter or art director one day, then applying to one or all of these contests will help you make connections and expand your portfolio. Woo! 

1) AKQA Future Lions: Je t’aime le Sud du France.

Image from  weheartit

Image from weheartit

This is the winner. Hurray.

It’s ALWAYS free to apply, and very quick and painless (no ten-page form or mail in necessary!). 

The brief is usually the same, so you could start thinking about it now if you wanted to. You just need to come up with a kick ass idea that connects an audience (of your choosing) to a product or service from a global brand, in a way that wasn’t possible three years ago. They look for really cool, innovative shit, so you can get crazy on this one.

But the best part is the reward. 

The winners are flown to an all-inclusive stay at Cannes (AKA South of France AKA most prestigious advertising ceremony in the world) for a couple days where they meet awesome advertising celebs and gurus who will soon guide them to become magical advertising wizards, or something.

Pro tip: even if you don’t win, try to go to Cannes anyways if you happen to live in Europe, and then schmooze your little butt off.

2) D&AD: It’s bloody brilliant.

Image from  S  eventeen

Image from Seventeen

This well-established, widely renowned advertising contest actually deserves its reputation. If you win, they help pay for your flight and accommodation to their award ceremony in London where you meet cool industry people and probably the Queen.

Here’s how it works:
They give you 16 briefs or so, and a couple months to complete however many you want. It’s a bit overwhelming at first, so start by reading through each one and focusing on a few you want to do. 

The winners always do really cool stuff, too. D&AD is a British contest, so they look for smart ideas that fit the brief (not that we're stereotyping Brits as smart, or anything...)

Anyways to sum up: Talented competitors, amazing award ceremony, and if you win, you get a trophy shaped like a pencil. This will pretty much complete you as a person.

3) NY Festivals: Fun Trophies

Image from  Dark Igloo

Image from Dark Igloo

Another fun ad contest. The award ceremony is amazing, and the trophies are probably the coolest trophies ever made. Designed by Stefan Sagmeister, these are totally worthy of your desk. 

Also, you can submit anything. No brief, just submit the cool stuff you’ve worked on lately. 

Something to watch out for, though: the submission price is higher than the Empire State building (Get it? because it’s the NY Festivals and the trophy is shaped like a building and the Empire State building is in NY and it’s expensive to apply for the NY Festivals. It works on EVERY LEVEL!).

Anyways, if you’re at a portfolio school, get them to reimburse you. 

4) Clios: Fancy Awkward Schmoozing.

Image from  S  oulPancake

Image from SoulPancake

This contest also has fun trophies. And a very cool award ceremony with fancy people and fancy outfits and fancy awkward networking moments. 

Again, though, expensive application fees so have your school reimburse you.

5) ADC Festival: Miami Beaches, Booze and Bronze

Image from  GIPHY

Image from GIPHY

ADC stands for the Art Directors Club, but despite that discriminatory name they don’t hate copywriters. The ADC is for everyone! A ton of big name ad studs are there, and the conference is amazing. They have workshop classes (like building your own guitar and sculpting Lionel Richie’s head, seriously) with as much as you can drink and some fun AF parties. 

So those are our top five! Congratulations to all the contests’ contest winners, and we hope you give us unlimited booze for deeming you worthy.

Kat & Vig

Enter Young Shits and follow the contest on Facebook.