Will we see the emergence of FCB India 2.0 at Cannes this year?

Rohit Ohri, CEO & Group Chairman, FCB India, tells us why he is looking at Cannes through a new lens after almost a decade

e4m by Neeta Nair
Updated: Jun 6, 2019 8:32 AM
Rohit Ohri

Close to 60 years after its inception in the country, FCB India bagged their first Lion at Cannes last year for 'Sindoor Khela' and did it with absolute style, taking home two Gold and two Bronze metals for the campaign. This year, in fact, can be the defining year for Rohit Ohri, CEO & Group Chairman, FCB India, and he tells us why he is looking at Cannes through a new lens after almost a decade.

What will be FCB’s Sindoor Khela this year? What campaign are you betting on this year?

'Sindoor Khela' is a once in a lifetime phenomenon. It has won 85 awards across the world. You can’t expect to get a 'Sindoor Khela' every year. But, we have big hopes from the campaign Bhukkad. The Shantanu Prakash Foundation runs Millennium Schools and Shantanu wanted to use the idle time in school after all the children have left at 2’o’clock for something productive. So he opened the doors of his 150 schools across the country, especially in smaller towns for educating underprivileged children and partnered with TOI, who have connected volunteers to this program who come and teach.

As the first piece of experiment, we created this film called 'Bhukkad' which is about a hungry mind, it is the story of a kid who is the son of a sex worker and how he learns English, Maths, Science from his mother’s clients. We took this film to a red light area in New Delhi as an inspiration for them to send their children to school, a lot of the sex workers and their kids came to watch the film which helped us drive the conversation. Our Open Door project which was launched two months ago has got almost 55 children from these red light areas as their first batch. By the end of the year with TOI’s help, we are targeting 75 schools. We are hopeful that it will win. We have entered it in six categories. Apart from that, we have entered 'Sindoor Khela' in the Creative Effectiveness category and some other campaigns too.

For the first time in the history of FCB India, you won a Lion at Cannes in 2018, is this FCB version 2.0 that you will be taking to the festival this year?

Last year was the first time in the history of FCB India that we won a Lion, in fact, we won so many. Swati and I were discussing that when we had joined FCB we had hoped that one day we will feature in the Gunn Report (now WARC rankings) and in 2019 we were the number one agency in India and the 18th agency in the world as per the rankings. So, it was a flaming debut that we made, in fact, no other agency in recent history has made an entry into the Gunn report/ WARC rankings as the number one agency from that country. So, that is something we are truly proud of, it involved a lot of hard work from the Creative, Servicing and Planning teams, and of course Swati, great leadership there.

For the past decade or so, first with Dentsu and now with FCB I have been going to Cannes for many years, the Lions were always a dream, an unobtainable object. But last year after having done two stage walks to get Cannes Gold everything changed, it suddenly became a game, which we could win and actually look forward to.

You had a great start at Goafest this year…. But do you feel you are under pressure to perform at Cannes now after a fabulous 2018?

Yes, we won 20 metals at Goafest, this is a new, regenerated, revamped FCB. We bettered our performance from last year’s 17 metals. What I am really happy about is that we won not on any small client, but won on our mainline businesses. Horlicks won the most amount of metals, then there was Amul, Mahindra & Mahindra, so we won for our biggest clients. That is the kind of transformation that we are looking at, you know mainline work, real work which actually makes the difference to client’s businesses that way. Even at Goafest, we won without 'Sindoor Khela' and we are hoping we can have a good show at Cannes too.

Apart from awards how is FCB doing on the business side, which are the new account wins?

Of course, it is not just about winning awards, we have also won some of the biggest businesses. The Delhi office is growing at a rapid pace, almost 100% year on year. So, that itself is huge momentum.

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