Cannes Lions Special: Musings after 100 hours in the Jury Room

Campaigns from JWT, O&M and McCann have done India proud. But the larger story lies in the efforts that didn't make the cut. Could we do better? Yes, says Sukrit Singh, CEO, Encompass Events who was also a juror for Promo & Activation Lions

e4m by Sukrit Singh
Updated: Jun 23, 2014 7:59 AM
Cannes Lions Special: Musings after 100 hours in the Jury Room

L'Université de Cannes Lions - un cours de haute couture de communication!

Bienvenue à la Destival Cannes Lion. The best damn learning week in our industry! 

As a fellow juror succulently put it- this is it – the “fashion week” of advertising and communication.  A week where the best in communication strut and fret their case videos upon the screen and then are heard no more. Tales told for a Lion - full of sound and fury determining reputation.  If you are still reading on -  these are my learning’s from a  crash course from the high temple of advertising haute couture – the Cannes Lions Festival.

Perhaps one should clarify here the term “ Haute Couture” of advertising and communication. With deference to the Bengalis it does take a language as gentle, sweet and elevated as French to define the term “haute couture.”  For those of us in the industry who neither know Bengali or French – “haute couture” or high sewing – are those clothes designers’ craft to showcase on the ramp - but are never worn by mortals. Likewise the festival of creativity at Cannes  - throws up several campaigns that satiate the creative vanity of our industry but are never seen and experienced by consumers.

I will say that fashion weeks and festivals of advertising creativity are noble in their aim – which is to take the industry forward.  Brilliant ideas and campaigns shine through and are recognized in Gold, Silver and Bronze.  For an industry struggling to define its relevance - pioneering ideas is exactly what we need to fuel us in difficult times. The campaigns that make the shortlist are what we need to share with our clients and colleagues as an example of what we can and should achieve.

Rumour has it that it that our industry invests 30 million Euros (?250 Crores) in award entry fees for the annual Lion hunt at Cannes. What would be even more staggering would be the investment creative time and energy and the emotional toll of waiting for the shortlist.  Here are some simple musings after spending over a 100 intense and enriching hours in a black box called the jury room.

Pense métal ne soyez pas emntal. (Think metal don’t be mental)
Don’t let obsessive creative disorder overcome your faculties.  Real work is recognized - the jury is from amongst you. The world needs great communication and engagement ideas.  We don’t need books that filter water – (books are for reading), we can’t part the seas or turn or turn sand to gold.

Communication ideas  create outcomes! Change behaviour, induce trial, lead to  purchase and ignite movements. Communication ideas work beyond case videos.

Charité bien ordonnée commence au travail. (Charity begins at work)
It seems like months before we go Lion hunting in Cannes – we are overcome with this extraordinary guilt for all that is wrong with the world. I salute campaigns like “Sweety” that have a positive impact on the world.  Charity requires gravity – and responsibility. We should not be fickle with our responsibility as communicators.

Exploiting charity for metals - is an epidemic in our industry. We exist because of brands! Let’s not forget that.

Vous represnt inde-faire de votre pays fier. (You represent India – do your country Proud).
The world looks at India as a booming economic powerhouse – where brands are thriving.  Many Indian entries are still in the “snake charmer” zone. Cannes is a creative index of countries and cultures – we must do India proud for what we are. A resilient superpower; where brands flourish -through real engagement with consumers.

When we enter at Cannes we are not agencies and campaigns - we are India! What we enter - is how the rest of the industry world perceives us.

Campaigns from JWT, O&M and McCann World group have done India Proud. But the larger story lies in the efforts that didn’t make the cut. Could we do better? I am sure we can - we may not have the largest ad spends in the world but we have a large and emerging consumer base. A young and diverse marketing nation hungry to engage with brands. At the same time brutal in its choices. India is the opportunity and the challenge - the best high school for Cannes University.

Staying with the theme of Cannes University – at the end of the semester we come back to the real jungle.  We are no longer predator but prey – the client is the real hunter and they are seeking a simple goal – results!  

We have it all – the opportunity, the challenges and clients seeking results. Here’s to a stronger India @ Cannes in the future. Au revior! 

(Disclaimer - I have been in the Promo and Activation jury and exposed to work in that category. The views need to be seen with that lens alone and are not a comment on the higher more traditional echelons of creative craft).

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