I arrived at Cannes on June 9th to a warm and sunny welcome and we got down to judging the same day. The Direct Lions awards had over 2500 entries and it has been a gargantuan, yet an enjoyable task to shortlist the entries to about 300 which potentially stand a chance of winning metals.
For me, personally, it has been interesting to see the change in the quality and type of work being entered now as compared to when I was a Cannes jury 11 years ago. The most striking differences are, of course, one, in the transition to online/digital cases and two, in the dilution of the distinction between Direct, Promo, Activation & PR. Many of the entries could easily qualify as an entry in any of these categories and would still have a chance of winning. The fine distinction is really which discipline is spearheading the campaign!
As far as Indian entries go, there are just a handful which have reached the Direct shortlist and I am hopeful some of these would win metals. The disappointing thing for me is that there are many Indian campaigns which come to mind which could have been potential winners, had they been entered.
One key lesson at this preliminary stage is that, given the huge number of entries in each category, it is critical to make the presentation video (of the campaign entered) so impactful and of such high quality, that it stands out and draws the attention of the jury to be able to make it to the shortlist.
I have been very impressed with the work entered by brands such as Coca-Cola, Samsung, Audi and Heineken.
By now, almost all the jury members have arrived in Cannes and it is great to catch up with old friends and colleagues and I am looking forward to some more sunny days, brilliant campaigns, the World Cup and…some sleep!
Rajat Sethi is Managing Partner at Strategic Caravan International and former M.D. of Dentsu Marcom and Wunderman India.