Cannes Lions 2021: Ideas rooted in the Indian context coupled with creative use of technology and new-age media is the way forward

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June 30, 2021 7:59 AM

India’s metal tally at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021 stood at 22 -- with two Gold, nine Silver and 11 Bronze Lions

Cannes Lions 2021, Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021Campaigns that stood out were ‘The Punishing Signal’ by FCB Interface for Mumbai Police and ‘The 8-Bit Journo’ by Dentsu Webchutney for Vice Media

Taking its metal count to 22 — with two Gold, nine Silver and 11 Bronze Lions– the Indian contingent managed to scale up from its 2019 performance of 18 wins — at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2021, held virtually. Two of the biggest wins came for digital-led creative agency Dentsu Webchutney that won seven Lions and FCB Group India with eight Lions. “The new ingredients that have emerged in recent years are simply about keeping up with the times—using digital media and technology in innovative ways to add a fresh dimension to creative thinking. I believe that an advertising market as big as India deserves to win many more Cannes Lions than it currently does. For this to happen, visionary brands must come together with visionary agencies—because, as they say, you can’t clap with one hand,” Sumanto Chattopadhyay, chairman and CCO, 82.5 Communications told BrandWagon Online. He added that coupling great creative ideas with the creative use of technology and new-age media is the way forward.

At this year’s festival, campaigns that stood out were ‘The Punishing Signal’ by FCB Interface for Mumbai Police and ‘The 8-Bit Journo’ by Dentsu Webchutney for Vice Media. The Punishing Signal campaign designed to tackle the honking menace in Mumbai won seven Lions (one Gold, three Silver and three Bronze Lions). As part of the activation, special decibel meters were connected to traffic signals across the city. When the decibel level exceeded 85dB, the signal timer would simply reset itself, thus punishing the impatient honkers by making them wait longer at the signal. One of the key criteria that we decided for the campaign was that it should directly affect behaviour, Robby Mathew, vice chairman and CCO, FCB Interface, said. “The success of the campaign is linked with two things. One, the problem of honking is something that everybody could associate with and two, the way it was executed without penalising someone heavily. What this communication did was that it immediately bought the problem to the fore and addressed it,” he added.

Meanwhile, for The 8-Bit Journo campaign, Dentsu Webchutney bagged three Silver and two Bronze Lions in the Direct Lion, Creative Strategy, Mobile Lions and Digital Craft categories. Relevant news stories that Kashmiris had missed out on over due to the internet shutdown in the state were converted into teletext and dispatched to lakhs of Kashmiris through SMS, the moment cellular phone service resumed in Jammu and Kashmir. “The origin story of The 8-Bit Journo as a campaign not born out of just a brief but equally born out of empathy. The unimaginable modern horror of minutes without the internet, let alone days, weeks and months was the obvious starting point for our teams. The categories at Cannes Lions that we’ve won in recently reaffirms our point of view on where creativity is headed. As an agency riding the internet wave, it is only smart for us to maintain our focus of differentiation to creativity,” Gautam Reghunath, CEO, Dentsu Webchutney, stated.

For Ashish Khazanchi, managing partner, Enormous, solutions which are rooted in Indian contexts and social realities are needed to make a mark rather than necessarily chasing a western sensibility or scale of solutions. “Creativity can play a role in bringing about more than just commercial dividends for corporates. It’s clear that you need a big idea or solution produced and packaged and entered well rather than taking the multiple minor punts. We need ideas with audacity and ambition. We need brands that will partner with the agency in creating demonstrable impact. The industry needs to not stop the search for fresher ideas that make everyone in the room a little bit nervous,” he said, adding that all advertising can’t be performance marketing and agencies must keep the impact as one of the benchmarks for what they do.

The other campaigns that made it to the winners list at this year’s Cannes Lions are Hackwashing for Lifebuoy by Geometry Encompass; H for Handwashing for Lifebuoy by Lowe Lintas; Cadbury’s #NotJustACadburyAd by Ogilvy; Project Free Period by DDB Mudra for Stayfree; Dove’s #StopTheBeautyTest by Ogilvy, The World’s Most Reported Trailer for Thappad Film by Dentsu Webchutney; ‘Now Words aren’t just seen, but felt’ for Samsung by Cheil India; Swiggy’s Better Half Recipes by Dentsu Webchutney; and Out and Proud Classifieds by FCB Ulka for Times of India.

Read Also: Celebrity Endorsers: Do modern-day Indian brands really need them?

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