DDB Toronto copywriter Daniel Bonder was eager to be chosen as one of 35 participants of the first-ever Young Lions Creative Academy, a workshop to be led by advertising veteran Bob Isherwood at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this June. He says he thought it was an amazing opportunity to be surrounded by really smart, inspiring talent and to learn from influential thinkers from both inside and outside the advertising industry. “Oh, and then there’s that whole French Riviera thing,” Bonder muses.
But it was now or never. That’s because Bonder turns 29 just days after Cannes ends this summer, and the cut-off age for participation in the Young Lions Creative Academy is 28. Realizing this was his one chance to be part of the academy, let alone revel in his youth, Bonder knew his application had to stand out. So he created a list of things people can only do when they are young and stupid and then bravely risked losing his dignity by doing them in a short video titled The Fuck-It List.
Directed by Jon & Torey of Toronto’s FamilyStyle, the documentary-style video—shot over “two slightly drunken days” and nearly resulting in Bonder’s arrest at one point—shows the soon to be over-the-hill creative doing things like dining and dashing, being intoxicated in public, getting a dolphin tattoo on his face, singing karaoke, and receiving a popular sexual favor in an alley. “All alcohol consumed and karaoke sang was real. The sexual acts were not,” Bonder notes.
At the end of the video, Bonder says there is only one thing he needs to cross off his list, and that’s the Young Lions Creative Academy.
And he can. Bonder, who submitted the video with his application to the program last Thursday, got an email just a few days later informing him he had been accepted and requesting his permission to use The Fuck-It List as a promotional piece on the Cannes Lions website. Thrilled that the video worked as intended, Bonder says, “I love that [advertising] is an industry where crazy ideas like this aren’t just accepted but applauded.”