Yahoo Academy wraps up with Musicians Making a Difference pitch-off

Yahoo Academy ended “with a pitch-off event” that saw participants respond to a brief for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD).

The announcement:

Yahoo’s annual industry-leading talent program, Yahoo Academy, has come to an end, closing with a pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD).

The class of 2024, made up of 30 talented delegates from the media and advertising industry across Australia and Singapore, were challenged to respond to the pitch brief of ‘Make MMAD famous’. Delegates were asked to utilise the tools and techniques they picked up over the course of two days, through workshops on AI, product design, strategy for the real world, earning attention and speaking to the CFO, which were run by industry luminaries including:

  • Simone Gupta (founder, Supermassive)
  • Tim Sharp (founder and principal, Gen8)
  • Rob Campbell (CSO, Colenso BBDO)
  • Kathryn Williams (founder, KMint)
  • Alyse Behringer (product innovation manager, Mastercard)

The judging panel, which included Campbell, Behringer, Sharp, Dominic Brook – co-founder, MMAD, John McNerney – managing director AUSEA, Yahoo, Natalie Stanbury – director of research, IAB Australia and Stephen Hunt – CEO of UnLtd, was presented with a range of innovative ideas from the teams. These ranged from dynamic brand partnership ideas to concepts involving large-scale UGC campaigns.

The stakes were high this year, with the teams going head-to-head in the quest for the prize: A trip to a destination marketing conference in June 2024.

It was ultimately a team called Guerres des Étoiles (French for Star Wars) which comprised Charlotte Delay from Spark Foundry, Daniel Miller from Kaimera and Tate Boden from Initiative, who won the competition.

Their idea, ‘Lost Beats – Amplifying the Invisible’ aimed to ‘bring belief to small-town Australia through music’. The pitch recommended an Australia-wide MMAD bus tour that would help teach the country’s youth about mental health through the power of music. The goal was to shed light on the unseen and unheard voices of young people who need someone to believe in them. The team outlined how MMAD could leverage the content from the tour with stories that draw attention to the charity’s donation program.

Teams Flying Economy, Pitch Fit and MAC Pack also received honourable mentions for their strong approaches to the brief, sharing personal stories, defining audiences and creating compelling responses to the brief.

The pitch-off was the final segment of this year’s Yahoo Academy program, which saw the Class of 2024 undertake an exclusive, free talent-building program designed to advance their skills for the future of work and ground them in a human-centred approach. Delegates had the opportunity to learn from industry experts and take back valuable insights, skills and mentorship opportunities.

Winning-team delegate Charlotte Delay, senior executive at Spark Foundry, reflected on the experience, stating: “The past two days have been immensely rewarding. The diversity and expertise of the speakers was inspiring and I have learnt so much that has made me think in new ways about what I do which I look forward to sharing with my team at work and our clients.

“Winning the pitch-off was the icing on the cake. Our strategy was straightforward – fulfil MMAD’s goal of engaging hard-to-reach communities by meeting them where they are – which led to the creation of the MMAD Bus, designed to tour rural communities and show up for them in person and in an impactful way.”

John McNerney, managing director of Yahoo AUSEA, adds: “These two days have been an immersive foray into topics that not only stretch the delegates’ immediate workplace thinking but play into creating really impactful solutions for our incredibly challenging brief.

“We’ve designed the Academy to offer something valuable for everyone, with a focus on encouraging strategic thinking, practically implementing cutting-edge tools and finding new approaches to solve business problems. It’s something we know will enhance the way our participants approach their roles going forward and add real value across the board.”

In response to the delegates’ innovative plans to ‘Make MMAD famous’, MMAD’s co-founder Dominic Brook said: “Yahoo Academy brought together a bunch of legendary emerging industry leaders who are out to change the world. Sharing the last couple of days with them has been really inspiring, and the fact we have an actionable winning idea to take MMAD to regional Australia in an impactful way is just brilliant. It really hit the right note when it came to aligning with MMAD’s mission.”

Companies involved in this year’s Yahoo Academy included: CPXi Asia, Endeavour Group, EssenceMediacom, Group M Nexus, Half Dome, Initiative, iProspect, JCDecaux Australia, Kaimera, Kinesso, Mindshare, News Corp Australia, OMD, PHD Media, Publicis, Qantas Loyalty, Slingshot Media, Spark Foundry, Starcom, The Speed Agency, Them Advertising, UM, Zenith and Zenith Media Brisbane.

The winning team’s prize includes flights, 4-nights’ accommodation and tickets to a destination marketing conference this June.

Source: Clear Hayes Consulting


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