New Delhi: The Cannes Lions are to advertising what the Oscars are to cinema. The International Festival of Creativity is an annual global advertising event which brings together the creative heavyweights who judge and award some of the best works in advertising. In its 64th edition, the festival, held in Cannes, France, is expected to be attended by 15,000 people from around 100 countries between 17 and 24 June this year.
India had a relatively good run at the Cannes Lions last year where it won a total of 27 Lions, compared to 13 in 2015. The entries for this year’s awards are officially closed and the jury is currently busy evaluating them. Mint spoke to five out of 12 Indian jurors about their experiences and expectations from the festival.
Advertising professional and founding partner and chairman at marketing communications agency The Social Street, Pratap Bose, who is judging the Promo and Activation category finds it extremely vibrant. For the record, under Promo and Activation, entries are judged on how well a campaign has initiated consumer participation in an activity which serves to promote a product or service.
“The entries can be from a variety of mediums from a leaflet, hoarding to even a stadium concert. The playing field is so vast that it not only keeps us excited but also surprises us. I’m looking for entries which are genuine and have touched people’s lives. Instead of focusing on the scale of the campaign in terms of impressions or views that it has garnered, the Cannes jury is looking for an innovative idea even if its impact has been limited to a small group of people," he said.
Unlike Bose, who is on the jury panel for the second time, Anita Nayyar, chief executive officer of Havas Media Group, India and South Asia, is making her debut as media juror this year. Nayyar feels that entries with digital at their core will have an edge over others.
“I’m expecting more entries with digital at the core because that is how media industry is progressing across the world," she said.
One of the biggest challenges that agencies as well as the jury face is the short packaging time for the entries. Each entry in Cannes has to create a case film (limited to two minutes) which has to explain the idea and impact of the campaign. The film also has to be supported with a written document.
“I personally read a lot of them. The documents tend to substantiate what the film is saying," added Social Street’s Bose.
Meanwhile, Amit Akali, chief creative officer at the independent healthcare communications agency Medulla Communications, which won ‘Health Agency of the Year’ at Cannes last year, is on the pharma category jury. While as a contender one gets to experience the thrill of competing with the best, Akali believes judging is a learning experience.
“Being on the Cannes jury exposes you to the work and trends in the category firsthand. More importantly, you’re locked up in a room with some of the best minds in the world and get their point of view on some of the best work," he said.
The Health Lions kick off the Cannes festival which gives the entries in the Pharma and Health and Wellness category a ‘first mover’ advantage.
“For instance, last year Man Boobs campaign by an Argentinean breast cancer charity MACMA won the Healthcare ‘Grandprix for Good’, then it went on to win across other categories as well. So I’m excited about being part of a jury that views and marks out the winners before others can," he said.
Viral Pandya, co-founder and chief creative officer at advertising agency Out of the Box India, who is on the jury of the Design category said he had seen a good body of work ever since the online judging started a month ago.
“One of the challenges, in this category, for a juror is not be swayed by how smartly an entry has been packaged and presented.One has to stay focused on the idea first which should be original – not a difficult task if you are someone who avidly follows the best of advertising and design worldwide. Apart from this, the juror also has to keep in mind the cultural contexts and local sensibilities while judging a piece," said Pandya, who is quite happy with India’s entries in Design this year.
Ritu Sharda, senior executive creative director, BBDO India, is on the Cyber jury panel. Cyber category judges campaigns on the innovative use of digital platforms and technologies to drive a brand message.
“India hasn’t had a good run in Cyber so far. But with the rise in digital companies, internet growth along with all of us getting exposed to killer global work, I believe there will soon be outstanding work that will shine. Last year, India won two Bronze Lions in Cyber for Ariel’s Share the Load campaign and I strongly feel that a Gold isn’t too far away," she added.