2022 has been India’s landmark year at the Cannes Lions


Five years ago, when India’s creative directors returned from the Advertising Oscars, they were full of inspiration to crack the digital code. Cut to 2022. They come back with a suitcase full of Lions for their tech-focused cutting-edge work.

Dentsu Webchutney made history by winning three Grand Prix in a single year at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity for Vice Media’s “The Unfiltered History Tour” campaign. The agency also won a coveted Titanium Lion, a category that celebrates game-changing work. The campaign also became the most awarded Indian work in Cannes Lions history.

Dentsu Creative India also won the prestigious Agency of the Year award.

Storyboard18 asked Ajay Gahlaut, Group Creative Director, Dentsu Creative, what makes “The Unfiltered History Tour” a winning campaign. He thinks the way the campaign has used creativity and technology to challenge history has sparked people’s interest. Moreover, its subversive nature added to its appeal. “To bypass the ‘official’ British Museum narrative and access an alternative view through technology is very exciting. The campaign has started a conversation around the world about the evils of colonization,” he added.

On winning Agency of the Year, he said it was “an emotion I can’t even begin to describe. When I watched other agencies win the title, I often wondered if I would ever get the same honor. He added, “Not just me, I think no one in the entire Indian advertising industry has ever been part of such a large number of Lions before… Hats off to everyone. unfiltered historical tour team. Those who are with us now and those who are gone. Congratulations to all.

What is the Unfiltered Historical Tour?

The campaign is a guided tour for visitors to the British Museum, home to some of the world’s most contested artifacts. Through The Unfiltered Tour, museum visitors could scan the artifacts using Instagram filters and unlock an augmented reality (AR) experience that visually teleports the objects back to their homelands. Going deeper, The Unfiltered History Tour also extends into a 10-part podcast series featuring experts from the countries the artifact was mined from, not where it is now. This was done to provide a broader education about the artifacts, as well as the history and ongoing impact of colonialism.

The seed of the campaign idea emerged during a casual conversation between former agency creative director PG Aditiya and former CEO Gautam Reghunath. The campaign took about 18 months to set up. Once the campaign launched, Aditiya, Reghunath and a few others who worked there quit to start a new creative store called Talented.

The culture of credit in the spotlight

Dentsu Webchutney participated in the rewards campaign and brought back shiny metals from around the world. Whenever a few trophies are added to the agency’s shelves, they tag Aditiya, Reghunath and a few others on social media giving them due credit and respect. So much so that Gurbaksh Singh, Chief Innovation Officer at Dentsu Creative India, sent a replica of the Grand Prix trophy to Reghunath before flying to Cannes and asked him to unbox it when they won. Singh had a feeling the campaign would win big.

The team spirit of Dentsu Webchutney and Talented sets a good example for the advertising industry. This says a lot about how the Indian creative community is becoming more mature when it comes to sharing the credit.

When creativity meets data and business transformation

Ogilvy India and Wavemaker also made history by winning a Titanium Lion. The agency got it for “Shah Rukh Khan – My Ad” from Cadbury Celebrations. In 2020, under the brand ‘Iss Diwali Aap #KiseKhushKarenge?’ campaign, Mondelez India’s ‘Not Just A Cadbury Ad’ leveraged artificial intelligence to create hyper-personalized spots for local businesses in around 260 PINs. He married creativity and technology with one goal: to promote local businesses at a time when they were hardest hit by the pandemic and lockdowns. The campaign was linked to the global positioning of the Cadbury brand, centered on genuine acts of kindness and generosity.

In 2021, in addition to hyper-personalized branded films reaching end consumers, local retailers were given the option to make a version of these ads for their stores, using AI-powered technology developed by Rephrase. have. Small businesses that are pinned on Google Maps could share their personalized ad featuring Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan via WhatsApp. In these advertisements, Khan was seen pushing consumers to shop at various local stores. Wavemaker India was the media agency behind the campaign.

The agency has also won Gold Lions in categories such as Creative Data and Direct.

The other Grand Prix winner

This year’s other Grand Prize went to VMLY&R India’s ‘The Killer Pack’ campaign for Maxx Flash in the Health & Wellness Lions. In India, rubbish collection points are a breeding ground for diseases like dengue fever and malaria, while mosquito coils are only used to control mosquitoes inside homes, Maxx Flash has decided. to change this practice. The mosquito repellent brand introduced The Killer Pack, an innovative 100% biodegradable pack lined with 5% active probiotic Bacillus thuringiensis, which kills mosquito larvae when thrown into landfills, trash cans and standing water, helping to break the vicious cycle.

The campaign also won Lions in categories such as Creative Commerce and Creative Business Transformation. The agency’s ‘Smart Fill’ campaign for Unilever won a Silver Lion in the Sustainable Development Goals category.

These campaigns indicate that at the heart of technology-driven work is the creativity and data that push boundaries and fuel marketing strategies.

Goal-Driven Storytelling Wins Big and a Grand Prix

Historically, India is known for winning major advertising awards for targeted campaigns. This year too, a bunch of targeted campaigns roared at Cannes Lions.

Leo Burnett India’s “The Missing Chapter” campaign for P&G India’s Whisper has won the inaugural Indian Lions Grand Prize for Sustainable Development Goals. It’s a category that celebrates creative problem-solving, solutions, or other initiatives that harness creativity and seek to have a positive impact on the world.

Leo Burnett India’s film titled “The Missing Chapter” is part of the brand’s #KeepGirlsInSchool movement. It was designed to illustrate how a girl’s lack of period education contributes to her absent school days, a situation exacerbated by the glaring lack of period education in Indian textbooks. The same campaign won a Silver Lion in the Health and Wellness category.

Dheeraj Sinha, CEO Leo Burnett, South Asia and President of BBH India, told Storyboard18 that what makes this an award-winning campaign “maybe both the fact that it balances creativity and purpose while helping the brand to grow and achieve its business goals. It’s an impactful campaign that makes a real difference to both consumers and the business itself.”

He further stated that “one of the biggest issues holding girls back is the lack of periodic education. 23 million girls drop out of the education system because they don’t understand what is happening to them. The missing chapter is another initiative to keep girls in school.It’s real in its impact.

Rajdeepak Das, CEO and Creative Director, South Asia, Leo Burnett, tells us the campaign also took a granular approach. “We decided that if girls didn’t have access to the vintage education chapter, we would bring the chapter to them. Thus was born the idea of ​​using one of the oldest forms of communication in the India – ‘wall art’ to spread period education by taking this chapter to the smaller towns and villages of India,” he explains.

After identifying 28 art styles specific to each state’s geography, the agency worked with local artists to create custom hand-drawn paintings centered on “The Missing Chapter” over the time periods. Hyper-localized in 28 different languages, eye-catching slogans designed to bust era myths with a 3-step visual aid on how to use a stamp. These paintings have been installed on the walls of schools and villages – a place where no girl can fail to see them.

Indian Lions roar onto the world stage

FCB India is the other Indian agency that brought the Lions home. FCB India and Kinnect a group of Lions for the “Chatpat” campaign of SOS Children’s Villages India. In the Film category, which was announced on the final day of the Cannes Lions, the campaign earned one Silver Lion and one Bronze Lion each. DDB Mudra’s “Machine-Gun Mouth” spot for Battle Battlegrounds Mobile India promoted responsible gambling. Produced by Early Man Films, this ad picked up a Bronze Film Lion.

VMLY&R India’s “Adeli” campaign made for Unipads was India’s sole winner in Glass Lions. The agency won a Bronze Lion.

From period discussions to tackling the continued impact of colonialism, Indian agencies have tackled several useful topics and married data, technology and creativity to create impactful work for clients and at the same time write history. at the Cannes Lions.




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