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Cannes Lions 2017: I am absolutely thrilled, says Prasoon Joshi

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Cannes Lions 2017: I am absolutely thrilled, says Prasoon Joshi

McCann Worldgroup India has emerged as the Indian agency with the highest number of metals at the recently concluded 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, with 16 metals including a Grand Prix, four Gold, seven Silver and four Bronze Lions.

The campaign ‘Immunity Charm’ for Afghanistan’s Ministry of Public Health won a Grand Prix for Good (Health), four Gold, Six Silver and two Bronze Lions, and became the most awarded campaign from India. Apart from it, the ‘World for All – Animal Care and Adoptions’ won a Silver, while ‘Paytm-Sweet Change’ and ‘The Scientist’ for Dermaclinix both won Bronze Lions.

Here are edited excerpts from a brief conversation with Prasoon Joshi, Chairman-McCann Asia Pacific & CEO & Chief Creative Officer, McCann WorldGroup India:

Congratulations on McCann WorldGroup India's overall performance at Cannes this year. Are you satisfied with the results?  

McCann's performance at Cannes this year has been outstanding and I am absolutely thrilled. To get the highest number of metals and also a Grand Prix is special, and we at McCann Worldgroup India are extremely happy and proud of our work and the appreciation it has received from the industry.


What is it within the agency that has fostered work such as the 'Afghan Immunity Charm' that won a Grand Prix for Good (Health)?

The focus on creative excellence and the passionate and collaborative spirit within the company is a precursor to good work, as is the ‘creative first’ culture which is the vision of our Global CEO, Harris Diamond and the mandate that Rob Riley, Chairman of the Global Creative Council, drives. Importantly, when an idea is seeded in culture and finds a meaningful role in people's lives, the impact and salience is far-reaching. At McCann, we constantly hone our deep understanding of local culture within a global framework. Another unique facet of McCann India's culture which I have earlier also talked about is 'Manthan'. Many years back, we began this process - a creative mind-churn if one takes it literally - where all the creative minds of McCann meet to solve clients’ brand problems. Manthan is hugely responsible for the creative excellence of our product.

Sir Martin Sorrell has suggested moving the entire festival out of Cannes as distractions here tend to take away from the work and also it is expensive. Do you agree? What would be a good alternative venue?

Well, it is something that can always be debated. The creative fraternity in the advertising industry owes a lot to Cannes. Every award and every show has a DNA and I think Cannes is very much a part of  the  DNA of the  Cannes Lions. Having said that, cost and globality are real emerging issues that should be looked at, but not in a hurry, as this is not a decision that I will be able to arrive at so easily.

If you were given a wishlist to make the Cannes festival even better, what would you suggest?

I must say that the Cannes festival has constantly been evolving; be it new categories like Music, Health, Entertainment, and so on. The organizers have always been open to newer ideas. I recall that as Chairperson of the Titanium and Integrated jury, I had suggested that Integrated and Titanium should be separate; they were receptive enough to implement it. So yes, Cannes has been amenable but then there's always room for more. So yes, more emphasis on emerging markets and the needs of emerging markets could be kept in mind. After all, we are in a never-before more complex social and media landscape. Many societies are on the cusp of change with various mediums co-existing. So, a deeper understanding of these markets and their unique aspects and evolving content and categories around that would be great.  

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