Writer: Noor Fathima Warsia - Wednesday, Jun 22,2011 9:25 AM
Cannes Lions 2011: Indian delegates get busy

Some have already begun to see a plot of sorts at Cannes this year, when India scored a blank in Direct and then another in Cyber shortlist – “don’t think we are doing well at all this year” was a more commonly heard statement this year, though creative heads are still keeping the faith. It is only the beginning of the Festival, some still say.

The Indian advertisers at Cannes included the likes of Birla Financial Services Group, and coming from the Lintas camp, Samsonite India, Bajaj Electricals and Aje. Day three began with a warm ‘Hi’, followed by how come India is not winning much. Or such was the perception immediately after the Cyber Lions were announced.

Lodestar’s Gold Lion and the Silvers by TapRoot & Maxus and the other wins have lifted the spirits and one yet got to say a happier Indian delegation at the gutter bar, Indian delegation’s unofficial hangout point at Cannes.

The Times of India representatives are here full flow including Arunabh Das Sharma, who has recently joined the company as Exec President – Response and Jaideep Bose aka Jojo, the editor of the Group. This is Jojo’s first Cannes Lions and in an informal conversation, he told exchange4media he is here more for the “curiosity”.

The only people spotted from India media service brands so far was Lintas Media Group’s Lynn de Souza, who faced her bit of missing connecting flights, along with NP Sathyamurthy (Karishma Initiative), and took a train ride to Cannes. Amazingly, everyone who heard that, ended up saying, “that’s a beautiful ride” – blessing in disguise! And there is Nandini Dias from Lodestar here though she is here in the capacity of a Jury Member this year, and de Souza is a Speaker at the IPG’s Women Leadership Sessions.

Media service brands are missing from the Festival completely. Even though the global bosses of ZenithOptimedia, Starcom MediaVest Group, Mindshare, OMD, PHD, UM and others are here --- busy in internal meetings for most time but nonetheless --- the India representatives chose not to come to Cannes Lions at all this year. A senior media agency head stated before the festival, it looks like wastage of time, but clearly global bosses see some merit in being here for a week.

One of the best things about being at Cannes, apart from the Lions wins, is the chance to interact with global management teams. Starcom MediaVest Group’s CEO Laura Desmond was as warm as ever in her conversation at the Festival speaking about how much she is looking forward to India now with Thierry Jadot heading the Emerging Markets, and the new leadership in the company led by CVL Srinivas.

PHD Worldwide’s Mike Cooper, who is supremely proud of OMG’s India operations, is also excited about the market and what the company is achieving there.

Though one of the best conversations until day three was with Dominic Proctor, CEO, Mindshare Worldwide (which was all about the exchange4media Conclave) but just hearing his views on the industry always leaves something to think about. Proctor was very happy with the GroupM Lion for India as well.

The Festival has gathered steam and the “hot” categories for India are going to be announced soon. Till then the India delegation have clearly made themselves busy with various things ranging from sessions, exhibitions, blogging for exchange4media to awards.

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