Cannes Lions Special: Remarkable Direct Lions entries: Notes of a Juror

Rajat Sethi, Managing Partner, Strategic Caravan International and juror for Direct Lions looks back at thought provoking & result-oriented entries, compelling one to think of how adaptable & relevant some of the ideas are to India

e4m by Rajat Sethi
Published: Jun 25, 2014 7:56 AM  | 3 min read
Cannes Lions Special: Remarkable Direct Lions entries: Notes of a Juror

Finally, seven days of judging over 2600 Lions Direct entries is over and I can look back and rewind the entries in my mind to see which ones really created a retentive impact in my mind.

Direct Marketing is no more just Direct Mail. It has evolved to include any work that 1. Elicits a response, 2. Is relevant to the product/service and 3. Creates a connect with the current or prospective customer. Today DM is media agnostic and any medium which achieves the above three is considered as Direct. I can recall award entries such as Sweetie, Bentley Burial, Magic of Flying, Gay TM’s and Almost identical, which won awards in more than one category, including Direct.

As always, the Cannes Lions festival compels one to think of how adaptable & relevant some of the ideas are, for a country like India. The Speaking  Exchange campaign from FCB, Brazil, where they created a call centre  in old age homes to converse with Brazilian children who are not adept in English, I thought addressed a crying need in India to provide a worthy option for the retired population to keep themselves gainfully occupied. Or the Water Is Life campaign where they have created a paper which can be used to make even sewer water 99 per cent pure for drinking, or the Coke cooler which does not require any electricity but uses a plant watering & mirror reflection system to keep the coke bottles cold (wonder why they cannot launch these ideas in India!); or the simple idea of a screen guard made for the visually impaired…I can go on and on.

Technology is today all pervasive in our lives and effective use of it to create compelling, engaging and impactful ideas is another learning from the Cannes entries. The Audi test drive campaign from Germany which promises an A8 test drive – at your convenience - within 90 to anywhere in the city, is a brilliant use of geo-spatial mapping as also the Magic of flying campaign by Ogilvy One, London which activates an outdoor billboard every time a British Airways flight flies above it and links it to a website as a call to action…or the My Home Is An Oven campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi, Argentina  where based on how long during the day the sun rays fall on your house, the discount on the air conditioner is that much more.

Finally, there were three award winning campaigns that were very disturbing yet extremely impactful, thought provoking and result oriented; the Sweetie campaign from Amsterdam against Child pornography, the F… the Poor campaign from Publicis London and the ‘I wish my son had cancer’ DM from AIS, London. You need to see these to appreciate the idea and execution behind them.

India only won two silvers in the Lions Direct category and that too for only one shortlisted entry – ‘Share my Dabba’ from McCann Worldgroup, Mumbai. The reason is not difficult to comprehend. We hardly entered any work in Direct, other than some (very good) social campaigns.

I do hope the 2015 Festival will see a turnaround in the quality and quantity of award winning work we enter. Till then, au revoir!

Rajat Sethi is Managing Partner of Strategic Caravan International and former Country Head of Dentsu Marcom, Wunderman India and MRM.

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