A Schulich School of Business MBA student and her co-worker at Lexus Canada have won bronze as the first Canadians ever to compete in the Young Marketers category at the Lions International Festival of Creativity in Cannes, France.
Olena Sapojnikova (BBA ’13, MBA ’17 candidate) and her colleague on Lexus Canada’s digital marketing team, Christian Di Vincenzo, won the bronze medal for their proposed global sustainability program for Lexus.
They competed against teams from 60 countries.
The Canadian team proposed that Lexus would issue a recall for all of its models powered only by fossil fuels, providing customers with the opportunity to trade their vehicles in for an equivalent hybrid model.
Described by the competition jury as “either bold or ambitious,” the team’s marketing proposal was credited as being inspiring, scalable and applicable to both individual car buyers and dealerships.
“On behalf of our entire Canada Cannes Lions team, I couldn’t be more proud of Olena and Christian’s win,” says Young Marketers jury chair and Samsung CMO Mark Childs, who was the team’s mentor. “They consistently demonstrate their marketing passion and today they shared it with the U.N., and the world.”
Sapojnikova, who has always had a passion for cars, found her first job at an auto mechanic shop. As well as working for Lexus Canada as a digital marketing consultant, Sapojnikova is now enrolled in Schulich’s accelerated eight-month MBA program. She and Di Vincenzo won the right to represent Canada in the international case competition after defeating 340 entries in the Young Marketers Competition, which was sponsored by The Globe and Mail.
“[Cannes Lions] is the biggest event in advertising and marketing in the world so just having the chance to be a part of the event is an honour,” said Sapojnikova. “It is a big boost to my career and it was the skills I acquired at Schulich that helped me stand out.”
Sapojnikova has studied marketing and digital media with Schulich Professors Markus Giesler and Leora Kornfeld.