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National CineMedia Announces 2023 U.S. Cannes Lions Young Lions Winners

Team USA will compete in person at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for the first time in four years

National CineMedia (NCM), the largest cinema advertising network in the country and U.S. representative to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, announces the winners of the 2023 U.S. Young Lions competition. Over 280 entries were submitted this year by creative rising stars working across the advertising, digital, media, creative and PR industries, a 16% increase of Young Lions entrants to the competition compared to last year.

The winners will compete in person for the first time in four years as Team USA in the global Young Lions competition at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the world’s leading celebration of creative marketing and communications, taking place from June 19 to June 23 in Cannes, France.

2023 U.S. Cannes Lions Young Lions Winning Teams Comprising Team USA (All of the winning campaigns can be viewed here.)

  • Digital: Benjamin Lin, art director at Havas; Sarah Park, copywriter at Havas
  • Film: Catarina Barcala, art director at MullenLowe; Palak Kapadia, copywriter at Amazon
  • Media: Sahar Farshi, senior negotiator, digital partnerships at Initiative; Caroline Riggs, senior negotiator, digital partnerships at Initiative
  • PR: Emma LeMay, copywriter at Weber Shandwick; John Chavez, senior designer at Weber Shandwick
  • Print: Kieran Murray, copywriter at MullenLowe; Megan Coats, junior art director at MullenLowe

2023 U.S. Cannes Lions Young Lions 2nd and 3rd Place Teams

  • Digital – 2nd Place: Katie Zheng, art director at Broth; Daphne Lee, copywriter at Broth
  • Digital – 3rd Place: Billy Palmer, art director at Digitas; Enrike Grageda, copywriter at Digitas
  • Film – 2nd Place: Graham Barbour, director/cinematographer at Sly Dog Creative; Phineas Alexander, director/editor at Sly Dog Creative
  • Film – 3rd Place: Rafael Sosa, senior art director at Deutsch NY; Steven Stoner, senior copywriter at Deutsch
  • Media – 2nd Place: Kyla Alberto, strategist at Initiative; Percival Sibanda, data analyst at Initiative
  • Media – 3rd Place: Marina Budi, media manager at VMLY&R Commerce; Lauren Waldrop, media planner at VMLY&R Commerce
  • PR – 2nd Place: Addison McKenna, associate at Weber Shandwick; Henry Zeng, strategist at Weber Shandwick
  • PR – 3rd Place: Michael Philbin, associate creative director, copy at Deutsch NY; Ashley White, associate creative director, art at Deutsch NY
  • Print – 2nd Place: Amy Char, copywriter at 215 McCann; Heather Patterson, senior art director at Deutsch LA
  • Print – 3rd Place: Yunxuan Wu, art director at Digitas North America; Nicole Gostek, copywriter at Digitas North America

NCM launched its first Young Lions marketing campaign this year, Represent! The campaign was designed to raise awareness, drive greater participation, and deepen industry support to help advance and amplify our most creative rising stars in the industry. NCM also elevated the 2023 Young Lions competition by enlisting a diverse group of prestigious judges comprised of over 75 senior brand and agency executives from companies including Meta, Amazon, Kia, Coty, Coca-Cola, LinkedIn, McDonald’s, and Paramount.

Entrants were challenged to develop a creative and innovative campaign in their respective categories on behalf of the 2023 Young Lions official charity partner, The Creative Ladder. The organization, founded by Ryan Reynolds, is dedicated to making creative careers more accessible and inclusive for young people. Participants were tasked with helping the nonprofit address the awareness gap surrounding creative careers.

“This year’s Young Lions winners fully embody the meaning of the Represent! campaign – they are the next generation of creative innovators with limitless potential. We’re excited to showcase their talents on the global stage at Cannes,” said Amy Tunick, chief marketing officer for National CineMedia. “NCM, Cannes Lions and The Creative Ladder are all dedicated to creating opportunities and space for young, diverse professionals to flourish.”

In addition to representing in Cannes as Team USA, the Young Lions winners will be featured in a video airing in movie theaters across the U.S. this spring. The “movie trailer” style video stars Young Lions judges and competitors and is co-produced by NCM’s in-house creative team, Noovie Studios, and FCB New York, the first content production sponsor of Young Lions.

Jenni Middleton, SVP, editor-in-chief, LIONS, said, “We’re thrilled that the Young Lions Competitions are back in person this year, for the first time since 2019. Competitors will go through the Festival week together as a community, working in an onsite agency, which will create the best possible environment for creativity to prosper. Teams will have access to digital boot camps, on-site sessions to boost their inspiration and will also have the opportunity to debrief with a Cannes Lions Juror. Our aim this year is to bring Connection, Community and Celebration to the heart of the Young Lions Competitions. Best of luck to all those entering this year, we’re looking forward to seeing how our Young Lions are inspired.”

A special thanks to the 2023 U.S. Young Lions sponsors for their continuous involvement and generous support of this year’s competitions: Digitas for Digital, Pereira & O’Dell for Film, UM for Media, Weber Shandwick for PR, National CineMedia (NCM) for Print and FCB New York for Content Production.

About National CineMedia

National CineMedia (NCM) is America’s Movie Network. As the largest cinema advertising network in the U.S., we unite brands with young, diverse audiences through the power of movies and popular culture. NCM’s Noovie® pre-show is presented exclusively in 47 leading national and regional theater circuits including AMC Entertainment Inc. (NYSE:AMC), Cinemark Holdings, Inc. (NYSE:CNK) and Regal Entertainment Group (a subsidiary of Cineworld Group PLC, LON: CINE). NCM’s cinema advertising network offers broad reach and unparalleled audience engagement with over 20,100 screens in over 1,600 theaters in 195 Designated Market Areas® (all of the top 50). NCM Digital and Digital-Out-Of-Home (DOOH) go beyond the big screen, extending in-theater campaigns into online, mobile, and place-based marketing programs to reach entertainment audiences. National CineMedia, Inc. (NASDAQ:NCMI) owns a 100% interest in, and is the managing member of, National CineMedia, LLC. For more information, visit and


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