Name: Sergey Yanovskiy

Young Lions Gold Winner: Cyber, 2013

What he’s up to these days: Associate Creative Director, Digital at ADV Group, an IPG affiliate and one of the biggest advertising holding companies in Russia.

Words of wisdom: Believe in your idea


From Sergey Yanovskiy’s earliest days in the advertising business, he dreamed of becoming a winner at t he Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, imagining what it would be like to meet industry legends such as Bob Greenberg, R/GA founder, CEO and Chairman and advertising industry pioneer.

In 2013, the 23-year-old Yanovskiy had his chance. After winning tournaments in his home country Russia, he was invited to compete in the cyber category at Cannes Lions’ Young Lions Competition, the global creative contest for young talent that Getty Images has sponsored for the past 18 years.

“Russia was not known for digital, and this was one of the most complex competitions during the weeklong Young Lions events,” Sergey said. “It was a very competitive, tough competition, with a really strong jury.”

Among them? Bob Greenberg, himself.

“I was praying he would like my entry,” Sergey recalled. “He is like my personal god.”

Sergey and his partner worked diligently on their concept, a Twitter-based anti-doping campaign which would enable participants to tweet pro athletes with a promise to remain drug-free. It was a meaningful idea, Yanovskiy said, but it was so simple that he and his partner began to have doubts.

“You hear other competitors talking about their work, and it really starts bothering you,” Yanovskiy said. “But we fought against that feeling and tried not to compare ourselves to others.”

In the end, it paid off.

Sergey Yanovskiy, right, and his partner (left) pose with R/GA founder and CEO Bob Greenberg (center), during the Cannes Lions 2013 Young Lions competition. Photo by Getty Images
Sergey Yanovskiy, right, and his partner (left) pose with R/GA founder and CEO Bob Greenberg (center), during the Cannes Lions 2013 Young Lions competition. Photo by Francois Durand/Getty Images


“When they announced that we had won, no one expected it,” he said. And he had no idea that what would happen next would become one of his favorite memories from the event – better even than being chased by recruiters or invited onto yachts to talk about future career plans, which also happened after his win.

“We went on stage to accept our award, and then the emcee asked us to wait for a second. He told us that we were competing in probably the most groundbreaking category. Then, he had us stand with the jurors for a moment, saying the jury members were like the heroes of the past and we were like the heroes of the future. Standing on stage with all the jury presidents – including Bob Greenberg – that was really an amazing experience.”

Now, as Associate Creative Director, Digital at ADV Group, Yanovskiy works across different agencies such as McCann, LOWE and Draft FCB, leading from the creative side as he develops the digital direction for each agency in Russia. And, he goes to Cannes every year.

His advice for this year’s Young Lions?

“Make sure you have a fresh idea,” he said. “Find new angles to the usual thing. But also be very logical.

What you need to execute these should be very real. It should go through a reality check. You should understand how your idea will be supported by the masses, and you should make it easy for them. Solve the problem in a way that brings value to people.

And believe in your idea. Believe in it, build it for yourself, and then, let the judges decide.”


To mark the 20th anniversary of Getty Images, we are proud to celebrate creative freedom at Cannes Lions 2015 and sponsor the Young Lions for the 18th consecutive year. Check back for more interviews and insights from former winners and the world’s leading creative minds. #gettylions