The 55th Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival has ended, and Indian agencies have returned home smiling. Even if an agency didn’t get the Lion, the tone at Cannes bore positively on the India advertising fraternity, and the overall mood in the Indian camp was high. Festival Chairman Terry Savage said on the last day of the Cannes Lions, “The Indian ad land has engaged more and more every year to learn from the world’s best practices in advertising. And it is showing in their works now. They have done very well this year.”
This is the first year when India won a Grand Prix, an Integrated Lion and a Cyber Lion. This is the first year when India won in all the categories of the Festival. This is the first year when the Indian flag was taken to the Cannes stage, and India was spoken about in many high-profiled seminars and presentations.
Amongst the Indian agencies, JWT India has brought home the biggest metals and quite a few of them. It was followed by Leo Burnett India, Contract Advertising and Ogilvy & Mather – in that order. Other agencies that won at the Festival are McCann Erickson, Publicis India, Grey Worldwide, Mudra and Saatchi & Saatchi. The buzzwords at Cannes Lions were the Lead India and Luxor campaigns that left a strong impression on everyone. With 23 metals in all, Indian agencies are hopeful of being amongst the top five most awarded countries, but there is still a day or two before the final tally is known.
Agnello Dias, CCO, JWT India, explained that the entry presented at Cannes Lions didn’t encapsulate even a tenth of what Lead India had actually grown to be. He said, “The things that make me happy overall are that we have won across mediums, the work has come from different JWT offices in India, we have been recognised for work done on some great brands, and all of this is coming from the same team that has been at JWT all this while.”
For KV Sridhar (Pops), NCD, Leo Burnett India, Luxor was a “miracle”. He said, “When the guys – Paddy and Russel – first told me about the idea, I told them you would never be able to pull it off. They struggled with it, and what has come out is nothing short of a miracle.”
Ravi Deshpande, CCO, Contract Advertising believes that this is just the beginning. He said, “I am happy to see Contract back to scoring big metals both on national and international platforms, and I believe that this is just the beginning of the quality and volume of the creative talent that Contract possesses. You will see a lot more in days to come.”
India shining at Cannes was noticed by everyone. Armin Jochum, CCO, BBDO Stuttgart, said, “Indian work is getting noticed, as are the creative directors of the country. From here on, this would only increase further.” Marcio Salem, President and Creative Director, Salem, Brazil, is an absolute fan. He said, “I love the work that had come from India, especially Lead India. It was a winner right from the first time we saw it. I was moved by it so much that I believed it was worthy of the Titanium Grand Prix for the sheer scale that the entry had.”
Mark Gross, Senior VP and Group Creative Director, DDB Chicago, said, “Work from India is beginning to stand out because they are getting the medium, its nuance and what should be done for that medium. This would only grow from here because once you get on with the learning process, you tend to absorb more.” Rodney Fitch, Chairman and CEO, Fitch UK, was of the same opinion. He said, “Some aspects of advertising, especially something like design, can be improvised on further and further, so there is no ‘this is the final thing’ in that. Once you know what is working, you are improving the right thing, and that is a move towards perfection. India has scored very high on that count.”
The biggest fan of India has to be Craig Davis. The JWT Worldwide CCO believes that India has worked hard in the last few years, and it is now showing. “India is a great example at Cannes Lions that brilliant ideas can come from anywhere, and you will get it once you work towards it. Indian agencies have been trying to learn the ropes for years now, and it is showing in the work that has come from India,” he pointed out.
Colleen DeCourcy, Founder and Chief Digital Officer, TBWA Worldwide, added here, “India is already thinking on the new media as well, and the creative talent is being groomed to think in that direction. This holds a promise from the country, and what can be expected from there. We have seen some good work this year, and there is a natural expectation of more in the coming years.”
India set the pace at Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival 2008 and the 225 delegates ensured that they were noticed – in the seminars, the Palais, workshop, even at the parties and the Gutter Bar.
As for next year, everyone is expecting more.