Sam Balsara, CMD, Madison World and jury member on the Cannes Media Lions Jury this year, talks about the takeaways from judging the entries for Media Lions, the need for India to adapt to digital, his favourite sessions and more...
What are your takeaways from judging the Media Lions?
The emphasis now is on digital, story-telling and engagement; almost everything has a digital and storytelling aspect. Moreover, branded content is becoming very big. Also, it is surprising almost nobody looks at television.
From a lot of the conversations with global media leaders at Cannes, the feedback is that India is still obsessed with television. What is your take on this?
In a way, they are not entirely wrong – 45 per cent of the spends are still on television in India, while only 10 per cent is on digital, whereas in most other western markets, digital spends have almost come up to the level of television size, and in some markets digital has crossed television spends. The writing on the wall is clear; as soon as broadband improves in India, digital will play a larger role. One thing is clear – now, advertising communication of one-to-many is not good enough for making an impact, forget making a sale.
How has your overall experience of Cannes been this year?
Since I have come here after quite a few years, I must say that I found it refreshing. I attended many of the seminars today and I must say that some of the seminar quality and the kind of insights being shared were really good and enlightening. I personally found the trip to be useful.
Although I had anticipated a rather long and tedious judging session, mercifully it wasn’t so tedious; they let us off by 4 pm.
What is your best Cannes memory this year?
The session by Jason Dsilva was very good to the effect that it was radically different. In my media judging, quite a few campaigns got my attention, including the Akansha Foundation campaign by Ogilvy.