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Cannes Lions 2010: Winning a Lion by creating acts, not ads: Josy Paul, BBDO India

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Cannes Lions 2010: Winning a Lion by creating acts, not ads: Josy Paul, BBDO India

BBDO India just won a silver Cannes Lion for the best integrated campaign led by PR. It’s the first PR metal for India at Cannes, and was won against stiff worldwide competition for real transformational work done on a big brand like P&G Gillette.

The award belongs to more than just us at BBDO India. The partner teams who worked on this came from agencies as diverse as Mediacom, Weber Shandwick and Encompass. The Lion truly belongs to the guts and faith of the visionary people at P&G Gillette, who activated their organisational strength and network to scale up the idea.

Create acts, not ads

It all began when we stumbled upon a Nielsen report, which revealed that 77 per cent of women preferred clean-shaven men. This was an opportunity. To merely create a conventional ad based on this insight would have been tame and old fashioned. As a team, we felt it had the potential to start a movement. The idea had to be action-oriented, to get Indian women to participate and interact with the brand idea. So, we created Women Against Lazy Stubble (W.A.L.S.) – a women’s movement to fight men’s unkept stubble!

Create platforms, not slogans

The idea started on Facebook and spread like wild fire! Before we knew it, media channels had picked it up and front pages of mainline newspapers like The Times of India were discussing the issue. It became national conversation. The idea had gained a life of its own!

Gillette India came forward and supported the movement by dropping the price of the Gillette Mach 3. Now, men had no more excuses not to shave! Women became bolder. They began to shave men in public! Over 90 malls in India had special Gillette booths where queues of men stood for hours to get a shave from pretty women.

Shaveathon, the final act!

In what was the biggest mass shaving event in the world, over 1,850 men came forward at Chitrakoot Grounds in Mumbai and shaved at one go. This got into the Guinness Book of World Records and also featured in Ripley’s Believe it or Not!

The result of all this was that the brand garnered over Rs 10 crore worth of free media and a 400 per cent growth in shares for the Gillette Mach 3.

Collaborate, and fly!

As a young ad agency, we are fortunate to be working with great clients and amazing partners. Our people are young and not boxed by traditional media walls. It helps when we start with an action-oriented idea that attracts multiple partners with diverse capabilities. That’s how our brands grow! That’s also how we bring home a Lion.


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