'Good case studies, faith in one’s work are key ingredients of success recipe at Cannes'

In a recent virtual discussion at e4m, an august panel deliberated on 'The Winning Recipe for Cannes Lions'

e4m by exchange4media Staff
Updated: Jun 23, 2021 11:09 AM

It’s never an easy feat to win a Cannes Lion and as some might argue, it could be extra difficult for an Indian campaign given the cultural nuances are quite different and there could be an inherent ‘western bias’ in the jury. However, that hasn’t stopped the great work from the country from shining at the fest and there have been some exceptional wins to the credit of the Indian creative community. 

In a recent virtual panel discussion on “The Winning Recipe for Cannes Lions,” exchange4media Senior Correspondent Mansi Sharma chatted with some of the leading names within the creative circuit, who have won several Lions in the past to find out what made them win.

Present on the Panel were Ogilvy India CCOs Kainaz Karmakar and Harshad Rajadhyaksha; BBDO India Chairperson & CCO Josy Paul; Infectious Advertising Director & CCO Ramanuj Shastry; Taproot Dentsu Co-founder & CCO Santosh Padhi; Leo Burnett South Asia CEO and CCO Rajdeepak Das; and Wunderman Thompson India CCO Senthil Kumar. 

The panel shared that they mostly follow their gut feeling in deciding which entries could be Cannes-worthy and believe in sharpening their case studies to as much finesse as they can to stand out. 

Padhi said, “While you spend a lot of time in creating an idea and then crafting it to perfection, you get only two minutes to present it to the jury. And I find it to be unfair but that’s how things work at Cannes. And you get just 15-seconds to grab the attention of the jury. So, for most of the work, you have to create a crisp case study. So much of the work then becomes fabricated, but that is what it is.” 

Karmakar went on to share the perfect example of how to present a good case study as she revealed their strategy behind Dove #StopTheBeautyTest’s jury presentation, which on Tuesday went on to win a Silver Creative Strategy Lion, “Explaining what an arranged marriage meeting setup looks like in India and what it means for a woman could itself take several minutes to explain to a westerner, who would have never been in such a situation. To work around that, we created an animal market sort of scenario, wherein people are checking horses by their mane and cows by their frame. And it instantly clicks to everyone when we say this is how Indian women are treated in that setting.” 

While the panel agreed that explaining Indian cultural nuances can be a tough task, Rajadhyaksha noted that things are turning around now. “Earlier, the Asian participants had to explain the whole cultural narrative to the jury but we live in a more globalised world now. The jury members too belong to various cultures and every participant, be from any geographical region, faces that pressure to clarify cultural contexts.” 

On being asked how they judge that a certain case study is good enough, Karmarkar shared that they run it through their international teams to get the sense of how others are seeing it. 

Das suggested that planning teams could be involved in the process to ensure that the creatives are on the right track. “Sometimes creative people just get so lost in their own work that they end up ignoring certain things. But there has to be some logic to the magic and the planning team could bring that to the table.”  

Shastry agreed that it is wise to run the work through as many people as possible to cull it to perfection before presenting it to the jury and spend ample time on it. 

On being asked what would be the right amount of time to work on a case study, Paul quipped that it could be as much as the team feels right. “Sometimes you get it immediately and at other times you have to let certain things go and understand that while it is a good piece of work it might not win.” 

Adding to that, Padhi shared the example of Airtel’s “Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai” and PepsiCo’s “Change The Game”. “We knew that both of these were exceptional campaigns, but we could not crack how we would explain a nation’s love for cricket with a case study. So, we did not send any of these to Cannes.”  

However, is it important for an ad to win an award in order it to be touted as successful or an ad person to become great, an audience member wondered. 

To this, Kumar replied that while recognition is important for any art form and winning awards is an exceptional achievement, it should solely not be seen as a success parameter. “You should see it as a motivation as to how you can match that level of creativity or create something of that calibre.” 

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