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Cannes Lions 2022: Here’s what worked for India and what didn't

While 2022 turned out to be the best year for India at The Cannes Lions with 47 metals, there were some areas, like Print & Publishing and Outdoor, where we were not able to make our presence felt

by Mansi Sharma
Published - Jun 29, 2022 8:12 AM  |  5 min read

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Last year, after a mellow performance of 22 metals at Cannes Lions, the industry had lamented the dulling sheen of metals over the past few years. Speaking in a clubhouse room, hosted by exchange4media for the winners of last year,  Cheil India CCO Emmanuel Upputuru had said, “India is quite consistent at maintaining its average metal count for the past few years now, but I couldn’t help but notice that the numbers of Grand Prix and Gold Lions are slowly coming down. This, as an industry, we need to think how we can improve.” 

And the performance certainly improved this year, and how! The country not only more than doubled its count of metals, getting home 47 Lions, but also managed to grab an unprecedented five Grand Prix in a year, and maiden set of Titanium Lions. It was also the first time that an Indian agency – Dentsu Creative – was named the Creative Agency of the year. 

Reacting to the sea of stunning performances, Dentsu Creative CEO India Amit Wadhwa had said, “While we have won what we have, it is also amazing to see all the other agencies from India win big. What a lovely feeling!! We are undeniably proud to be associated with a campaign that takes top honours on a global platform. This indeed fuels the fire of passion and commitment in the team that has relentlessly worked on it. The entire credit goes to each one of them who has been involved, to all our present and ex-colleagues who have worked so hard on the campaign. They are the real winners.” 

BBDO India Chairperson and CCO Josy Paul said, “Ideas have no geography. What it takes to create great ideas is chemistry. It’s the electricity of creation. That’s what the team at Dentsu Creative (Webchutney) demonstrated so well. As did all the Indian agencies that contributed to the glory (some more than others but all making a difference): Dentsu Creative, FCB, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, Leo Burnett, DDB Mudra, McCann, Byju’, BBDO India and many others who added to the long tail of shortlist recognition. It was chemistry that created history.  The Indian victory represents the distributed creativity and collective chemistry of a confident nation. When the team from Dentsu Creative (Webchutney), Bengaluru  went up on stage to collect their global ‘Agency of the Year’ award, all of us felt a collective stirring as the national anthem played silently in our hearts! It’s all chemistry!” 

BBDO had picked five shortlists and a Bronze Lion for the  “Share the Load” campaign, its long-running successful endeavour for P&G’s Ariel.

DDB Mudra Group Chief Creative Officer Rahul Mathew noted, “It has been a stupendous year for India. We haven’t made our presence felt so emphatically, ever before. It pegs us as an equal and not a David in the world of Goliaths. While Dentsu has played a major role in putting us there, the pressure is now on all of us to keep us there. I can’t think of any real misses. Usually, 3 Lions at Cannes make for a good year. But this year has changed everything. I would rate our performance as more of a growl than a roar.” 

For DDB the win came in the form of one silver and three bronze lions for “Machine Gun Mouth” and “The Silent Frown” campaigns. 

Mathew added that all the winning campaigns were built on strong social provocations that were resolved with either great simplicity or clever technology. “While we have shown our ability to use simplicity in a powerful way before, the use of technology has been a new addition to our arsenal.” 

The little misses

While the industry is keen to focus on the positives of the grandest performance for the country at Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2022, there have been some categories that could not get the same results as others. There were no shortlists in categories like Print & Publishing, Outdoor, Creative B2B and Creative Strategy. Also, India could not score any metals in categories including Design and Film Craft. 

The poor performance in Print was predicted by the industry even before the festival began. An industry veteran had quipped, “Print used to be one of India’s strongholds at Cannes in the initial years but with the growth of alternative media, the medium has suffered. I won’t say that the advertisers are not there, but we do not see the same level of creativity in most print ads as we used to see a few years ago. Every now and then, some sporadic creative emerges which has a competitive edge and that’s about it.”

Further, Mathew said, “Craft, especially design and film, I feel is an area we need to focus on and protect more. We often see more craft in the making of the case videos than in the individual elements in that video. And it’s not hard to understand why. With the constant pressure of time and budgets, one often has to choose between making it better or making it bigger. Just that I feel, the individual elements are what the consumer sees, so it’s worth pushing and protecting more.”

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