Now Bill Gates catches the Cannes bug with new $1m Aid challenge

Cannes really is taking over the world; not only does it dominate the advertising (and much else) awards calendar but it’s trying to change the world too.

The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, set up to spend some of the Microsoft founder’s billions on good cause is sponsoring an Aid challenge, offering $100,000 to up to ten people or companies to produce an idea on the theme: Aid Works (Bill is a big supporter of foreign aid) and then up to $1m for the winners of the first stage to devlop their ideas.

This will be done via something rather bafflingly called the ‘Cannes Chimera.’ For those of you without a classical education (like me) Chimera means a monstrous creature or – a single organism. I suppose they mean the latter. Anyway the CC consists of past and present Cannes Grand Prix winners, other luminaries and members of the B&M Foundation.

Rather refreshingly, the CC is not asking for full-on presentations in the first instance but just ideas on two side of good old-fashioned A4 paper. Entries by May 15 (see link above).

Cannes has already dipped a big toe in the water of good works with various schemes to encourage young talent. And Saatchi & Saatchi, which has been running its Young Directors’ Showcase for 21 years now, launched the ‘Impossible Brief’ a couple of years ago.

This invited ideas to bring Israelis and Palestinians together and succeeded in setting up a blood-giving service used by both communities.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.