Jack Smyth, communications strategist from Initiative, and Chris Colter, strategy director at UM, have collected the Young Lions Media Lions Gold at the Lions International Festival of Creativity Awards gala ceremony overnight.

Smyth and Colter are in Cannes representing Australia after having won the 2015 Australian Young Lions competition which is run by News Corp Australia, the official Australian representative of the 2015 International Cannes Lions Festival.

The judges were unanimous in awarding the world’s most prestigious award to the duo, describing their entry as being “head and shoulders” above the work presented by the 27 other contenders in the category.

The pair were briefed on Sunday and given 24 hours to respond to the brief which was to come up with an innovative media campaign that will inspire at least 20 high net worth individuals to join the ‘Malaria No More’ campaign which was launched in 2006. The charity’s goals include helping to raise funds to reduce malaria deaths and cases by 90 per cent by 2030; to help unite world leaders behind the vision of ending malaria within a generation; and to invest in anti-malaria programs in Africa to help protect 20 million people from the disease. The competitors were urged to adopt a brave, urgent and inspiring tone of voice in their campaigns.

The pair’s idea was to engage the owners of the 20 teams in the English Premier League – known for their competitive spirit – in a bidding war for a top new talent from Africa with money raised donated to the charity. The execution involved content, partners and sponsors, and owned and earned assets.

Says Colter: “We were excited just to be here, winning in Australia was our big win. But this – it’s the icing on the icing.”

To add theatrics to their presentation, the pair bought EPL jerseys to wear for their presentation – Manchester United and Chelsea.

Says Smyth: “We are absolutely blown away, this is such a proud moment for us.”

News Corp Australia has sent five Australian Young Lions teams to Cannes this year. This year’s success adds to an impressive trophy cabinet of previous awards including two golds and three silver.

Sophie Price, UM’s chief strategy officer, said she was “the proudest boss in Cannes”.

Continues Price: “These two have an amazing ability to crack an idea quickly, back themselves quickly, and execute brilliantly.”

The two will receive the coveted Gold Lion trophy and return airfares to the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.