Cannes Lions 2021: India steals the thunder on day 1, picks 7 metals

FCB India bagged 5 Lions for its acclaimed 'Punishing Signal' campaign for Mumbai Police

e4m by Mansi Sharma
Updated: Jun 22, 2021 10:19 AM
Mumbai Police Cannes Lions 2021 Punishing Signal

With India's absence in major shortlists like Titanium, Innovation, and Glass: Lions For Change, a few days ago, the question back home on everybody's minds was whether the country will make its mark at the Cannes Lions 2021. However, India’s roaring victory on day 1 put those doubts to rest. 

In a spectacular show, the Indian contingent overall clinched 7 metals including 1 gold in the Health & Wellness category under the category description Non-profit / Foundation-led Education & Awareness, 2 Silver, and 4 Bronze Lions for three campaigns in Outdoor and Health & Wellness categories. 

FCB India was the star of the show, picking up 5 Lions for its globally acclaimed campaign the ‘PUNISHING SIGNAL’ for Mumbai Police. Lowe Lintas Mumbai and Geometry and Encompass also won a bronze each for their work with Lifebuoy on 'H for Handwashing' and 'Hackwashing' campaigns, respectively.  

The Punishing Signal 


‘The Punishing Signal’ won one gold and one silver Health & Wellness Lion along with one silver and two bronze Outdoor Lions. The campaign for Mumbai Police was launched in January 2020, wherein special decibel meters connected to traffic signals were put across the island city with the unenviable sobriquet of the "Honking Capital of the World". 

As the honking got louder, the timer on the signals was reset, so that the motorists spent more time on the road for more noise generated.  

The creative team for the campaign included Fred Levron, Robby Mathew, Mukesh Jadhav, Rakesh Menon, Ravi Ananthan, Mayuresh Vengurlekar, and Siddharth Kutty, while media was managed by Dhruv Jha and Amit Raina.  

Rohit Ohri, Chairman & CEO, FCB Group India, said, “Once is an accident. Twice is a coincidence. Three times is a habit. Our Gold Lion hat-trick at Cannes is testimony to FCB Group India making creative excellence a habit.” 

Robby Mathew, Vice Chairman & CCO, FCB Interface, said, “All the credit for these 5 Lions goes to Mumbai Police, for believing in the idea, installing the 'Punishing Signals' across Mumbai, and then tweeting the humorous video to the whole wide world!” 

H for Handwashing 


‘H for Handwashing’, created in partnership by Lowe Lintas Mumbai and Singapore was aimed at enlightening the global community about the act of handwashing in a year that had become all about it. 

The campaign was extended across media, including on TikTok with the #LifebuoyHandWashChallenge. The team also worked with players in the Indian Premier League’s Royal Challengers Bangalore team to create a PSA around the notion of India opening up. 

The campaign was led by Sagar Kapoor and MullenLowe Singapore global business director Vinay Vinayak. The campaign won a bronze in the Health and Wellness category.  

Happy about the win, Lowe Lintas CCO Sagar Kapoor quipped, “Behaviour change cannot get any more critical, given the era we are living in. For that change to happen, something fundamental has to change. Handwashing is pivotal in saving lives in the pandemic yet data shows its rate is still declining. Lifebuoy, having championed behaviour change decided to play a key role, one that goes way beyond just being a soap. 

"We decided to change the letter ‘H’ forever. ‘H’ will not be for HAT or HORSE. Now ‘H is for HANDWASHING’. Making this intervention at a really young age will ensure the hygiene habit is instilled at an age that would never let anyone forget handwashing. Winning a Cannes Bronze for the act just reinstates our faith in real work getting global recognition.” 


‘Hackwashing’ that won a bronze in the Health and Wellness Lions was a smart solution to stop the spread of germs in Kumbh Mela. The devotees' hands were stamped with a special wearable ink made of Lifebuoy formula, which turns into antibacterial soap on coming in contact with water. The hack was based on the insight that over 60% of Indians wash their hands using just water, which was not enough to stop infections and especially in crowded gatherings such as the Kumbh Mela. 

As a result, Kumbh festival 2019 had 30% fewer infections than the festival’s previous 2013 edition. The team behind the campaign included then Managing Partner Shankar Shinde and ECD Arpan Jain of Lowe Lintas Mumbai.  

Speaking about the win, CEO Ranjit Raina said, “Recognition for the work one does is always special and it becomes more so in a year like this. Our teams led by Shankar Shinde and Arpan Jain have done a tremendous job. #Hackwashing is a very relevant and innovative piece of work. I am very glad that it has been recognised. It wouldn’t have been possible without the support of our client HUL.”

The results for Pharma, Print & Publishing, and Design categories were also announced on day one. While there were no shortlists for India in the pharma category; FCB Ulka had been shortlisted in two subcategories under Print & Publishing Lions for ‘Out & Proud Classified’ for The Times Of India. In Design Lions, DDB Mudra Group Mumbai was shortlisted in two subcategories for McDonald’s ‘Eat Equal’ campaign.

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