Girish Agarwal, Non Executive Director of the Dainik Bhaskar Group, and a first-timer at the Cannes Lions festival, gives us his take on it.
What is your overall impression of the Cannes Lions Festival 2017?
I think it’s a good effort and a good event for the industry. But since barring India and a few other countries, Print is not doing great anywhere, I can’t see anything related to print advertising happening in Cannes. They need to recognize the growth of print in India and accordingly think of sessions focusing on that kind of creativity, that kind of effort.
Also, I think the size of the Cannes festival has gone down. The number of registrations fell from last year to this year, in fact, this year there is a drastic decline. I am told Publicis has made an announcement that they are not going to participate in awards next year. That’s a big issue and raises questions about how this kind of a festival needs to reinvent itself. And because this is a great thing happening, so may be some tweaking here and there would help people continue coming to the festival.
In the sessions that you attended, which did you like best and why?
There was a session by Scott Galloway, Professor of Marketing at the NYU Stern School of Business, New York. He deciphered why Amazon, Google, etc., are doing great things but how they are hitting us hard also. That was an amazing session. And then the other session I liked had the Airbnb CMO and Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg. They were good, but I thought they could have given us their learnings rather than saying what they are doing good. Other sessions, frankly speaking, didn’t hold much.
Can you tell us about any interesting people you met?
I have realized in the last three days time that the organizers need to work a bit more on organizing small events for groups of like-minded people who can sit and chat together.
Print is so big in India, yet India did not win a single metal in the Print & Publishing category. What could be the possible reason for this?
There are two aspects to it. One is, in the Cannes line-up of speakers, I didn’t see any session focusing on print advertising. The organizers could perhaps think of that. Secondly, if you are saying that this year India didn’t win any metal in Print & Publishing in Cannes, then it’s a big shame for all the creative directors in India, because those guys need to understand that in their mind they are focusing on digital and television, and they need to understand Print still contributes almost 40 per cent of the overall advertising revenue in India. So, they need to focus on it, and I am sure they will all take a big message out of this and start working hard on print advertising.
What is the trend in the advertising industry that you sense at this time?
This time, the big focus I saw was on mobile advertising; mobile and digital.
Is Dainik Bhaskar thinking of associating with the Cannes Lions in any way?
We send our team here every year. I have to check with them to see if there is a window where we can work with them. Frankly speaking, what is happening here is more of a PR and networking exercise. You are interacting with people largely from the creative side; there are fewer people from the business side. So, I don’t know, I am not too sure about that.