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McCann Worldgroup’s Grand Prix, major wins by Ogilvy & Mather, Leo Burnett, BBDO India, Wieden & Kennedy and L&K Saatchi & Saatchi add up to India’s all-time best performance of 40 metals at Cannes



It was India Shining in full creative glory at the 64th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity last week, putting up its all-time best performance with a haul of 40 metals. Last year, India had won 27 metals at Cannes.

Topping the metals chart was a Grand Prix for McCann WorldGroup’s campaign ‘Immunity Charm’, which leverages the Afghan tradition of tying talismanic bracelets on children’s arms to bring in improved vaccination and healthcare.

India did particularly well in the Creative Effectiveness category, bagging two Golds (for BBDO India’s Ariel #ShareTheLoad and Leo Burnett’s Bajaj V) and two Silvers, reiterating the fact that our advertising industry is all about creativity with a purpose, geared towards clear business objectives. Leo Burnett India’s ‘Roads that Honk’ campaign bagged a Silver, giving India its first ever metal in the Innovation category at the Cannes Lions.

Meanwhile, India’s domination in the Glass Lions category continued, with a Gold for L&K Saatchi & Saatchi’s #GiveHer5 campaign to promote menstrual hygiene among the underprivileged. However, India did not win a Glass Grand Prix this time and thus missed out on scoring a hat-trick, having won a Glass Grand Prix for Mindshare’s ‘Brooke Bond Red Label 6 Pack Band’ in 2016, and another for ‘Whisper-Touch the Pickle’ by BBDO India in the inaugural year of the Glass Lions in 2015.


If 2016 was the year of VR at Cannes, what was the over-riding central theme of conversations at the festival this year? Talking of the work that has won, we took this question to several people we met to find out what the overwhelming trend of the festival was, according to them.

“The trend is about creating things. About making something you can touch. ‘Fearless Girl’, ‘Immunity Charm’ and ‘Meet Graham’ are great examples of this. In all this, we saw a rise in technology-based ideas. Specially where technology meets social purpose. Also data-driven innovations for greater good. All these dominated the scene at Cannes this year,” said Josy Paul, Chairman and Chief Creative Officer, BBDO India.

According to Prasoon Joshi, Chairman, APAC & CEO & Chief Creative Officer, India, McCann WorldGroup, work that gets celebrated points to the pulse of industry and society in a larger context. “Not just communicators but marketers and manufacturers too are becoming more and more cognizant of the fact that there is a larger purpose and social good that one can strive for, apart from the immediate goals,” he said. “Adding meaning to people’s lives is key. Be it ‘The Fearless Girl’ or the ‘Immunity Charm’, which are both coincidentally from the McCann stable, both signify that they have touched hearts and moved minds because they have been able to add value to people’s lives. This is what the industry and brands look for and celebrate.”

Stating that technology invasion into our business is no more a claim, Prasanth Kumar, CEO of Mindshare South Asia, said, “The power of technology is to trigger creativity from insights, or leverage creativity to have better insights. More or less, issues and challenges across the world are very similar in terms of how do we get better thinking and more outcome for brands. I’d say that there is a lot of encouragement to some genres like Music of late.”

Saurabh Varma, CEO, Publicis Communications, India, too vouched for the creative power of technology and its powerful impact for advertisers. “We had stated way back that we wanted to create Wave 3 in our work – Wave 1 being Print, Wave 2 being Hindi heartland Cinema and Wave 3 being Experiential, Branded Content, a narrative which is based on dialogue, conversation, interactive, giving people a platform where they can converge and do things together. At the moment, we are unleashing the creative power of technology, the power of media and awards all mixed together to create powerful impact for our clients,” he said.



India sent quite a large quantum of work to Cannes – 1,227 entries, to be precise, though the number is way below last year’s 1,315 Cannes contenders. Of the 1,227 entries, 40 converted to metals – giving a conversion rate of 3.25%. Overall, the Cannes Lions festival received 41,170 entries from countries across the world.

Harshit Jain, Senior Vice President & Country Manager McCann Health India, receives the Lions Health Grand Prix for Good for ‘Immunity Charm’


“McCann’s performance at Cannes this year has been outstanding and I am absolutely thrilled. To get the highest number of metals and also a Grand Prix is special, and we at McCann Worldgroup India are extremely happy and proud of our work and the appreciation it has received from the industry”

CEO, India and Chairman (APAC), McCann Worldgroup

Piyush Pandey, Executive Chairman & Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia, receives a Gold award for the much-awarded ‘Savlon Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks’


“I am very happy for the young people who work at Ogilvy India and have done us proud. My congratulations to all other agencies in India”

Executive Chairman & Creative Director, Ogilvy South Asia

“The nine Lions we picked up at the 2017 Cannes festival is recognition from one of the toughest competitions in our industry. Great clients and great teams partner to create great work at Ogilvy every day. How do we do this consistently? We don’t create work to win awards. We just bring our best game to every client and every brief. That’s how we win”


CEO, Ogilvy India

Team Leo Burnett India led by CSO Dheeraj Sinha and CCO Raj Deepak Das receive a Gold Lion in Creative Effectiveness for Bajaj-Vikrant -The Nation’s Bike, which also won for India its first ever metal, a Silver, in the Innovation Lions category



“I am absolutely delighted for Leo Burnett, Mumbai. They put technology at the heart of the agency. Their approach to new world thinking is second to none. Picking up a Gold Creative Effectiveness Lion for Bajaj’s Vikrant is amazing… a new world idea that catches the hearts and minds of the nation. It’s innovation at its core”


Chief Creative Officer, Leo Burnett Worldwide

Team BBDO India comprising Ritu Sharda, Senior ECD, Delhi, Hemant Shringy, Executive Creative Director, Josy Paul, Chairman and CCO, and Rajat Mendhi, EVP - Planning, receive a Gold Lion in Creative Effectiveness for Ariel ‘Share The Load’



“We are thrilled with our performance at Cannes! Both the campaigns we entered – Ariel ‘Share The Load’ and Mirinda ‘Release The Pressure’ - have been recognized on the global stage by a diverse jury. Ariel got the Gold Lion and a Silver Lion. And Mirinda a Silver Lion. That’s significant because it’s the first Cannes Lion for PepsiCo in India”


Chairman and CCO, BBDO India

Delna Sethna, Chief Creative Officer of L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, receives the Gold award in the Glass Lions category at Cannes for the #GiverHer5 campaign


“It’s fantastic to win at Cannes, back to back. And it’s even more special winning the Gold. The credit and glory for this goes to the entire creative team and especially to Delna Sethna, who has been passionately driving this as her own personal mission. She and her team deserve this, and more so as the #GiveHer5 is no ordinary mission. The task undertaken is of huge proportions”


Co-owner & Chairman, Law & Kenneth- Saatchi & Saatchi

Avinash Shankar of Stratum, Mumbai goes up on stage along with Team Wieden+Kennedy to receive a Gold Lion in the Film category for Nike’s Da Da Ding campaign. Media for the campaign is by Mindshare Delhi


“Well, assuming this is not some kind of mistake in the vein of La La Land for Best Picture, we’re quite thrilled. But really, it’s an award for Gener8ion for making a track brimming with feeling, and Nike for trusting us with it. We couldn’t be more pleased”

Creative Director, Wieden+Kennedy Delhi

“Happy for the Gold, and great team work! Congratulations to Nike Team”

CEO, South Asia, Mindshare

Here are some campaigns the world raved about and celebrated

The Refugee Nation: Winner of Grand Prix for Good, the Refugee Nation campaign by Ogilvy New York for Amnesty International gained worldwide recognition for driving attention to sufferings of millions of refugees around the world. The campaign was created in honour of 10 refugee participants in the 2016 Olympics who could claim affiliation to no country. Ogilvy worked with refugee artists and musicians to create a flag that would represent those who fled warzones and lived in foreign lands.


Boost Your Voice: The Boost Your Voice campaign by 180 LA for Boost Mobile was conceptualized with the objective of giving minority communities’ voices a platform during the 2016 US Prudential election race. The campaign was awarded a Grand Prix in the Promo and Activation category, and Gold in the Outdoor category. The campaign was recognized for its work in turning Boost mobile stores in low income areas into polling stations.



We’re the Superhumans: Channel 4’s “We’re the Superhumans” was awarded the Grand Prix in the Film category for its work in celebrating diversity at the 2016 Rio Paralympics. Conceptualized and created by Channel 4’s in-house team 4Creative, the film celebrates the accomplishments of various Paralympians, and features a band of disabled musicians called “The Superhumans Band” that echo its positive “Yes I Can” catchphrase.


Meet Graham: This campaign, conceptualised by Clemenger BBDO Melbourne, was awarded a Grand Prix and also a Gold, three Silvers and a Bronze in the Health and Wellness Category of the Cannes Lions Health festival. The campaign was recognized for putting the spotlight on road safety by depicting the way a human might look if the body were designed to withstand the force of a car crash. As the only “human” created to withstand road accident trauma, Graham is meant to drive awareness among people about their own vulnerability to motor accidents.



Immunity Charm: The Immunity Charm campaign created by McCann Worldgroup India took home the Grand Prix for Good in the Cannes Lions Health category, while also bagging the most awards ever in the same category with four Gold, four Silver and one Bronze Lions. The campaign received high praise from the Cannes jurors for leveraging the Afghan tradition of talismanic bracelets to improve the country’s abysmal immunization rate, thereby reducing infant mortality.



The Van Gogh Bedroom: The Van Gogh Bedroom Campaign for the Art Institute of Chicago was conceptualized and created by Leo Burnett Chicago, winning a Grand Prix in the Creative Effectiveness category. This unique initiative gave people the chance to rent a reconstructed 3D reproduction of Vincent van Gogh’s bedroom for a night, via Airbnb, and helped the institute drive huge visitor gains. The effort was also lauded for creatively introducing a younger audience to the Art Institute.


Burger King Google Home Hack: Burger King’s “Google Home for the Whopper” hack won the Grand Prix in Direct. The campaign by David Miami debuted in April with 15-second spots that featured the phrase, “Okay, Google, what is the Whopper burger?” Any Google Home device within earshot, upon hearing the prompt, told listeners about the fast-food chain’s burger. Soon after the ad aired, Google disabled it, but Burger King and David went on to release modified versions of the ad that would prompt the device once again.


Twitter Hashtag: Twitter’s Hashtag campaign, meant to showcase the platform’s ability to provide a forum for political debate, was awarded the Grand Prix in the Outdoor category (along with the Fearless Girl campaign). The ads, created by Twitter San Francisco, simply use visual hashtags along with images of political figures such as Donald Trump, Hilary Clinton and Vladimir Putin. It also features ads on various divisive issues such as gun control, gay rights, marijuana, etc.


Network of the Year - BBDO Worldwide

(Ogilvy & Mather 2nd and McCann Worldgroup3rd)

Agency of the Year - Clemenger BBDO Melbourne

(AlmapBBDO, Sao Paulo 2nd and McCann NewYork 3rd)

Independent Agency of the Year - Droga5, New York

Holding Company of the Year – WPP

(Omnicom 2nd and Interpublic Group 3rd)

Lion of St. Mark - David Droga

Creative Marketer of the Year - Burger King

Grand Prix for Good - The Refugee Nation
by Ogilvy New York for Amnesty International


We are incredibly honoured at being named Creative Marketer of the Year at Cannes this year. We have the largest team that ever came from Burger King to Cannes. We had the Burger King presentation and we are leaving with 28-29 Lions in our luggage. It has been a tremendous year for Burger King.


People should invest proper time to define what their brand stands for and then really make sure every single touchpoint, asset, communication, material and copy that comes out of the brand ties back to whatever position that defines your brand. I think sometimes people dilute their brands too much and that doesn’t lead to good work.
(As told to Srabana Lahiri)


Rushing around from the Press Room to sessions to meetings to cafeteria for a quick bite within the Palais des Festivals during the festival, one came across a very young delegate - little Eloise Corp, all of three months old, happily grinning away, with her Classic pass to boot! Turned out that her parents are part of the festival organizers, and hence her exalted entry to the festival!

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