What led to India’s lowest Cannes score in 5 yrs?

Is India pushing boundaries to create world-class work...

e4m by Deepika Bhardwaj
Published: Jun 25, 2012 9:15 PM  | 5 min read
What led to India’s lowest Cannes score in 5 yrs?

After seven days of shortlists, winners, seminars, workshops, ceremonies, discussions and parties, The 59th International festival of Creativity, Cannes Lions finally came to an end on June 23, 2012. India could grab only two Lions across four categories that were announced on the last day of the Festival including Film, Film Craft, Titanium and Integrated and the newly launched Branded Content and Entertainment.

Performance by agencies
Going by the point system that Cannes Lions follows, DDB Mudra is on the top this year with 1 Gold, 1 Bronze Lion and 10 shortlists totalling 20 points. Following closely is Leo Burnett India with 19 points from 2 Silver, 1 Bronze Lions and 6 shortlists. Ogilvy & Mather comes next with 12 points courtesy three Bronze Lions and three shortlists. McCann Worldgroup and BBDO India have a total of 10 points each with a Gold and three shortlists and two bronze and four shortlists respectively. Other metal winners include Cheil Worldwide India, Ramesh Deo Productions with Taproot India and Bacardi India. Out of a total of 23 agencies/companies whose work got nominated, only nine could finally grab metals.

Performance by categories
Out of a total of 1182 entries submitted from India, a total of 91 entries got shortlisted in various categories including the coveted Titanium and Integrated Lions and the inaugural Branded Content and Entertainment Lions. Out of the 91 shortlisted, 14 converted into metals across eight categories, marking a ‘No show’ across seven. There are three Gold, three Silver and eight Bronze Lions won over all. These 14 metals comprise of four metals in Press including one silver and three bronze; three in Media including two silver and one bronze; two in Design including one Gold and one bronze; a Gold in Film Craft and Outdoor and a bronze each in Direct, Branded Content and Entertainment and Radio.

India did not win any metal in Promo and Activation, PR, Mobile, Creative Effectiveness, Cyber, Film and Titanium and Integrated Lions.

India had got 12 metals in 2007 and then 23 Lions in 2008 including a Grand Prix. The performance was maintained in 2009 with 25 Lions but in 2010 the number of Lions came down to 17. In 2011, Indian agencies though had started slow, demonstrated another good year and cornered 24 Lions.

Industry speaks

The numbers haven’t bothered the creative leadership in India. We spoke to Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman and Creative Director, Ogilvy & Mather; Prasoon Joshi, Executive Chairman and CEO McCann Worldgroup India and President – South Asia; and Josy Paul, Chairman and National Creative Director, BBDO India on India’s performance at Cannes Lions 2012. Here is what they had to say...

Numbers go up and down and I am not thinking too much about it. Yes, we could have done better but we should worry more about doing work that wins audience and not only awards. That should not be the criteria. I think very simple and effective work also wins at Cannes and we have to just get down and do that. We have support of our audience in India unlike some countries where people are very sceptical of advertising; we should continue creating work that mesmerises them. ”

I am happy for McCann’s Gold win. It is work for a significant client and work that has pushed boundaries in a category such as Outdoor. I am more concerned about the quality of work, efforts we are making for mainstream clients rather than the numbers. If I look at it that ways, then I am happy that the real work is being noticed. Another thing is that we are still traditional media dominated country, which has apparently declined elsewhere. Activations, digital, events are becoming mainstream and we still have sometime before we represent ourselves strongly in these medias.

Also, we have to look at the needs of the clients in our country. We are doing campaigns for them and not because we have to win at Cannes. I want India to have great performance at Cannes but wont judge industries health on basis of that. If our clients are doing well, we should not create unnecessary panic. We should learn from it. We should educate ourselves on where the world of advertising is going and learn from it. But there are certain realities of our country which will not change and we should thus not worry too much about it.

However, I am definitely concerned with our performance in films. We need to question creativity in our films. We should introspect on the nuances. We have to ask if we are pushing boundaries to produce world-class work.

India's showing in Digital continues to bother me. I'm trying to understand why we are so far behind. But I think we should look at the positive side. We know we have some fantastic talent in India. And our best work is among the best in the world. So we should focus on being more of who we are. Festivals such as Cannes allow us to exchange art and culture, and in time, we will understand more of the world, the world will understand us. I am confident this will lead to better performance. I am optimistic. Looking at the winning entries this year, I notice that this year Cannes was more about big emotions and less about clever ideas – clever ideas talk to a few, while big emotions talk to everyone. So everyone in the diverse Jury gets it. In fact I always thought 'I am Mumbai’ had the best chance for India as a film and it did win. That was because of that one big human emotion, wasn't it?

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