JWT India won the Direct Grand Prix for the Lead India campaign—a defining moment for Indian advertising. Ten years ago, Indians, that too a mere handful, were just spectators at Cannes. This year it was a proud moment to see the JWT India team walk up to the stage waving the tricolour.
What makes the win even more special is that the Grand Prix wasn’t awarded to an ad for a product or service, but to an event that made the entire nation stand up and take note.
Initially, I wasn’t sure if the rest of the world would understand the power of this event—one that encouraged people living in the world’s largest democracy to become leaders. And there wasn’t one film or a print ad that defined the campaign, but a sustained effort across channels that helped create the necessary impact. I’m pleased that the world realized that by asking people to be the change and quit merely asking for it, this campaign was more powerful than other ads that look only at selling products.
The win proves a point made in my earlier articles on how brands that communicate values and beliefs are those that will become successful.
This win also made every Indian walking down the streets to be seen as a hero— a fact quite evident when almost the entire Indian team landed up at the Gutter Bar to celebrate the milestone in Indian advertising. Wishes were pouring in for the winning team, and also to every Indian present. The celebrations created a traffic jam as the party spilled over to the streets and the place soon resembled one of the regular watering holes in amchi Mumbai.
Colvyn Harris (CEO, JWT India) was quite the host, receiving people and ready to buy a drink for anyone who shook his hand. Agnello Dias (national creative director, JWT India), exhausted after giving a number of interviews to the press, quietly slipped away with his team to celebrate with a few friends and a gleaming Lion.
Cannes, however, is not just a party place and I enjoyed listening to two people talk about two very important and relevant topics. Nigel Morris (CEO, Isobar), spoke on how in the new digital age, brands need to change the way they communicate with their consumers. Interactivity, the new tool that the digital space offers means that communication cannot be just a monologue, and brands need to start a two-way conversation with consumers.
Consumers these days are more interested in what brands do rather than what they say. And if companies can make their consumers start a conversation about their brands or services, with the others, success is almost guaranteed.
Eco friendliness and green claims are what many companies are focusing on today and Diana Verde Nieto (CEO, Clownfish), an environmentalist, socialist and marketer, illustrated why companies need to have a better and deeper understanding of this issue.
She shattered the so-called Green Company myth by telling us how only a very few companies are actually making a difference. She urged advertisers to be honest in their efforts, and if they are claiming to be green, then inform consumers and people on what exactly they are doing in this regard. She was also very vocal about messages being sent to consumers, saying that companies should not ask consumers to do things that they themselves do not do. For example, a company that doesn’t recycle its products, should in no way tell consumers to recycle.
Both seminars are really stressing one point: as a brand, you need to create value and beliefs. This very well may be the new mantra for success, for companies worldwide.
The author is national creative director, Leo Burnett India.
Respond to this column at firstname.lastname@example.org