Yahoo Academy Culminates with a Toughest-Ever Pitch-Off for Australian Charity ‘Musicians Making a Difference’

Yahoo’s annual industry-leading talent programme, Yahoo Academy, has concluded, closing with a competitive pitch-off event for Musicians Making A Difference (MMAD).  

Thirty delegates from Australia and Singapore’s media and advertising industry responded to the pitch brief, ‘Make MMAD famous’, utilising the tools and techniques they picked up over two days. These include workshops on AI, product design, strategy for the real world, earning attention, and speaking to the CFO, 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)

Campbell, Behringer, Sharp, along with Dominic Brook (co-founder, MMAD), John McNerney (managing director AUSEA, Yahoo), Natalie Stanbury (director of research, IAB, Australia), and Stephen Hunt (CEO, UnLtd) judged various ideas, eventually declaring Guerres des Etoiles as the winner, comprising Charlotte Delay from Spark Foundry, Daniel Miller from Kaimera and Tate Boden from Initiative. They took home the prize: a trip to a destination marketing conference in June 2024. 

Their idea, ‘Lost Beats - Amplifying the Invisible’, pitched an Australia-wide MMAD bus tour to teach the country’s youth about mental health through the power of music. The goal was to amplify young people’s unheard voices, leveraging content from the tour with stories that draw attention to the charity’s donation programme.

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. 

The pitch-off was the final segment of this year’s Yahoo Academy – an exclusive, free talent-building programme designed to advance skills for the future of work with a human-centred approach, taking home insights, skills, and mentorship opportunities from experts.

Singaporean delegate, Jasmine Phua of CPXi Asia, reflected on her experience, saying: “I’m so grateful for this opportunity. It has been incredible to get to meet so many new people and be exposed to an array of new ideas and ways of thinking. From practical use of AI to earning attention and even product design, it has stretched my thinking in new ways. One thing I will definitely be taking home is the lesson to challenge the status quo and push more innovative ideas with clients, which is something we need in the Singapore market.”

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.” 

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.


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