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USA Today and Gannett Announce Young Lions Winning Teams Representing the U.S. in the Global Competitions

USA TODAY and Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI), the official U.S. representatives to the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, announced today the winning teams of the 2015 U.S. Young Lions Competitions. The competitions offer young creative minds from around the world an opportunity to compete against each other in five categories and showcase their talent on a global stage during the Cannes Lions Festival in June.

The 2015 U.S. Young Lions Competitions included teams from creative, media, and PR companies or agencies, as well as in-house professionals from marketers across the U.S., totaling 392 entries. The five winning teams will be competing in the Global Young Lions Competitions during the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity this June. There will be 46 cyber teams, 43 film teams, 31 media teams, 20 PR teams and 45 print teams anticipated in this year’s global competitions.

Every Mother Counts (EMC), a non-profit organization dedicated to making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother, is the featured partner for this year's competition. The registered U.S. teams were presented with a creative brief from EMC challenging them to submit work in five categories — Cyber, Film, Media, Print and for the first time this year, Public Relations. The assignment asked teams to develop creative digital/mobile ads, short films, media plans, PR strategies, and print ads to engage their target audiences to raise awareness and take catalytic actions in support of EMC’s cause.

“2015 has seen a record number of entries in the U.S. Young Lions Competitions and I couldn’t be more excited and inspired by the breadth of talent involved from all across the country,” said Larry Kramer, president and publisher of USA TODAY. “Partnering with Every Mother Counts on their mission is tremendously meaningful. The emotional impact witnessed at the live judging events, from both the teams and the judges, really brought the competition to life.”

The 2015 U.S. Young Lions winning teams are:


Justin Lake and Emily Moore, R/GA


Patrick Merritt and Kimberly Ronan, Publicis Kaplan Thaler


Ryan Patti and Maddy Reavey, Havas Media


Angela Mears and Margaux Pepper, Weber Shandwick


Adam Beal and Casey Schweikert, R/GA

“We are honored to be the non-profit partner for this year’s competition. As a small organization, it’s especially exciting to get to tap into all of the creative minds who participated,” said Erin Thornton, executive director Every Mother Counts. "Maternal health is an issue that touches everyone in different ways, and it’s a goal of EMC to always reach new audiences about the complications and solutions associated with making pregnancy and childbirth safe for every mother. We have been so impressed with the unique perspectives and ideas this competition brought forth, and look forward to acting upon some of them in the coming year. On behalf of all of us at EMC, we wish the winning teams the best of luck at Cannes!"

The 2015 U.S. competition is supported by sponsors including DigitasLBi for Cyber; Pereira & O'Dell for Film; Spark SMG for Media, the PR Council for PR; and USA TODAY for the Print competition. These supporters once again are spotlighting entries that best embody a principle they are passionate about. Chosen teams, along with the winning teams of this year’s U.S. Young Lions Competitions, will be invited by USA TODAY to participate in a live pitch day here in the U.S. before the June festival where they can present their work to the team at Every Mother Counts.

The following teams are being recognized by our sponsors:

  • CYBER: DigitasLBi | Creating Connections that Inspire Behavior
    Celebrates fearless ideas and innovative executions that will help brands connect with their customers, through an acute understanding of consumer motive and behavior. This could be a first or a never-been-done-before concept, or simply a new approach to an established idea.
    • Caroline Cappelli and Pablo Rochat, Goodby Silverstein & Partners
    • Jose Ripol and Samantha Salzano, DigitasLBi
    • Justin Lake and Emily Moore, R/GA
  • FILM: Pereira & O’Dell| Celebrating More Moms
    Recognizes ideas that inspire positive action and awareness of maternal health by crafting an effective message. These teams express compassion and possibility in their work.
    • Maxie Etess and Michael Palma, Taxi
    • Denise Castañeda, Walton Isaacson and Michael Zhang, Ogilvy & Mather
  • MEDIA: Spark SMG | Beyond Boundaries
    Entries that challenge the status quo, take risks and redefine how to connect a brand with consumers through media.
    • Alexander Quintana and Daniela Sayegh, Mindshare Miami
    • Sasha Kelemen and Matthew Witt, Maxus Global
    • Josh Brown and Erik Lunde, Spark
  • PR: PR Council | #PRThinking
    Entries that best embody what PR is today: an integrated approach that utilizes traditional and new media to create content that compels, stories that resonate, and conversations that engage.
    • Courtney Rule and Rachel Silverman, Hill + Knowlton Strategies
    • Matthew Molino and Nicholas Nelson, Cohn & Wolfe
  • PRINT: USA TODAY | Smarter. Faster. More Colorful.
    Highlighting entries that are concise, informed, & visual with a distinct, colorful approach.
    • Nina Golik and Ian Hill, BBDO San Francisco
    • Kara Coyle and Stephanie Kim, Ogilvy & Mather

Judges who scored these entries in the 2015 U.S. Young Lions Competition include:

  • CYBER: Rachel Barek, AKQA; Ronald Ng, DigitasLBi; Jon Jackson, Huge; Nguyen Duong, INNOCEAN; Jeff Hinz, MediaCom; Craig Elimeliah, RAPP; Alex Bodman, Razorfish; Christian Waitzinger, SapientNitro
  • FILM: Janet Brown, FilmBuff; Jeff Ferro, Pereira & O’Dell; Taras Wayner, R/GA; Jason Komulainen, The Martin Agency; Lee Einhorn, Venables Bell & Partners
  • MEDIA: Justine Bloom, Carat; Diana Stumvoll, Conill; Rob Reifenheiser/Mandy Walis, Essence; Marci Schnur, Ignition; Amy Ginsberg/Stephanie Hill, Initiative; Ben Gogley, INNOCEAN; Scott Schwartz, MEC; Jason Lim, MediaCom; Dan Kern, MediaVest; Chris Boothe/Scott Hess & Brent Lux, Spark; Kathy Kline, Starcom; Gretchen Ramsey, UM; David Stopforth, Wieden+Kennedy
  • PR: Ellen Ryan Mardiks, Golin; Marian Salzman, Havas PR North America; Margaret Booth, M Booth; Jane Brody Koenke, Marina Maher Communications; Elise Mitchel, Mitchell Communications Group; Paul Newman, MSLGROUP; Chris Graves, Ogilvy Public Relations; Gail Heimann, Weber Shandwick
  • PRINT: Howard Belk, Siegel+Gale; Diogo Montes, RAPP; Peter Nicholson, McKinney; Rob Perillo, Grey; Matt Urbanos, USA TODAY; Cheryl Van Ooyen, mcgarrybowen

For more information regarding the U.S. Young Lions Competitions, please visit To view the winning U.S. entries, click here.


USA TODAY is a multi-platform news and information media company. Founded in 1982, USA TODAY's mission is to serve as a forum for better understanding and unity to help make the USA truly one nation. Through its unique visual storytelling, USA TODAY delivers high-quality and engaging content across print, digital, social and video platforms. An innovator of news and information, USA TODAY reflects the pulse of the nation and serves as the host of the American conversation – today, tomorrow and for decades to follow. USA TODAY, the nation's number one newspaper in print circulation with an average of nearly 1.8 million daily, and, an award-winning newspaper website launched in 1995, reach a combined 6.6 million readers daily. USA TODAY is a leader in mobile applications with more than 16 million downloads on mobile devices. USA TODAY is owned by Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI).

About Gannett

Gannett Co., Inc. (NYSE: GCI) is an international media and marketing solutions company that informs and engages more than 115 million people every month through its powerful network of broadcast, digital, mobile and publishing properties. Our portfolio of trusted brands offers marketers unmatched local-to-national reach and customizable, innovative marketing solutions across any platform. Gannett is committed to connecting people – and the companies who want to reach them – with their interests and communities. For more information, visit


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Vice President, Corporate Communications
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Vice President, Investor Relations

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