Dentsu Webchutney, the creatively-led digital agency from the house of Dentsu Aegis Network, has taken a lion’s share in India’s awards tally at Cannes Lions 2019. With 17 shortlists, 1 Silver and 5 Bronze Lions in its kitty, the agency has scored 33 points and has become the most successful agency from India at the international festival of creativity.
Dentsu Webchutney’s winning trinity at Cannes was led by its rib-tickling innovation campaign for Swiggy- ‘Voice of Hunger’ that ruled Instagram for an entire fortnight (1 Silver and 2 Bronzes across Direct, Social & Influencer and Mobile). It was ably backed by Flipkart’s Hagglebot: a technology breakthrough launched during 2018’s Big Billion Days (2 Bronzes in Brand Activation and Creative E-Commerce), and ‘URI: Code Name URI’, an unexpected hack to fight piracy for the film, which went on to become a runaway hit (1 bronze in PR).
It is pertinent to mention here that all three campaigns, unlike the trend we usually see at Cannes Lions from an Indian perspective, are far from ‘Causevertising’. On the contrary, they were real, effective pieces backed by real client budgets that produced the core marketing metrics needed before having any award behind its name.
Sidharth Rao, co-founder and chief executive, Dentsu Webchutney said, “It’s been a fantastic week to put it mildly. Advertising has been too focused on changing its sub-brands, ‘digital’, ‘mainline’, rather than expanding the scope of what’s possible with what we do. We’re front and centre with marketing teams, and we collectively define charters in the same room with their advertising agencies, both are going to be under pressure to grow their brands. Keeping advertising as one part of the marketing function and finding its most effective, creative outlet is our core takeaway as an ad agency here today.”
When quizzed about the strengths of the campaign that helped win at Cannes, Gautam Reghunath, Executive Vice President- Dentsu Webchutney stated, “Over five months of preparation along with Google & Flipkart for Hagglebot and manually checking 150,000 voice notes over 5 days for Voice of Hunger. As happenstance, we finally fulfilled the true promise of the “voice is the future,” though both these campaigns but in diametrically opposite ways: Hagglebot was a technical and creative breakthrough and Voice of Hunger gave a consumer-facing feature a brand new use case”.
He further added that Hagglebot and Voice of Hunger represent new realities of our industry. “While it’s easy to look at them as ‘digital campaigns’ or as proponents of voice technologies, or any other popular narrative — we want to emphasize the level of engagement users had with the campaigns. This is exactly what’s great about starting digital-first: it’s where today’s users primarily are, and they share what they’re doing”.
Reghunath elucidated that the teams are obsessed with new features on social platforms. In the last year, this bunch of curious, internet first 20-somethings have piloted over 12 Instagram hacks to drive brand on the platform, aside from paid social. It’s a brief that we consider always-on at Dentsu Webchutney.
Ashish Bhasin, CEO Greater South and chairman and CEO India, Dentsu Aegis Network, said, “What a remarkable performance we have had at Cannes this year! I am absolutely overjoyed with our 19 shortlists and 6 Lion wins and I congratulate Dentsu Webchutney and Dentsu Impact for this extraordinary performance. DAN is going to stay digitally ahead and be creatively led and this is only the beginning. Having built our business leadership and Digital leadership and then leading at Goafest for Abby’s and at Kyoorius, it feels great that our Digital Agency led India at Cannes Lion 2019. This is a new benchmark and perhaps also signals the beginning of the end of legacy creative agencies that are struggling to adapt to the changing environment. Dentsu Webchutney has really made me proud of their achievements particularly because their awards were won on real work, for large new age clients like Flipkart, Swiggy and Uri.” The success at Cannes Lions for Dentsu Webchutney comes barely a fortnight after their stellar performance at the recently concluded Kyoorius Creative Awards, where it had once again triumphed over India’s legacy creative agencies, and the ABBYs where it had emerged as the lead agency too.
“It’s taken us twenty years to get here. And by ‘here’, I don’t mean measuring our success by the number of Lions at Cannes. ‘Here’ is a feeling where we know our work is on par with the coolest brands and hardest-working agencies on the planet. Our unique take is to be extremely particular about the kind of work we want to be known for. As all agencies, especially digital ones try to do everything, we have to keep our eyes on what brought us here in the first place: experimenting with interesting technologies to bring clutter-breaking solutions. Find your niche in this great big blur. Attention is a currency. You’ll notice that nearly every Cannes Lion-winning campaign demands your attention. That’s the kind of differentiation clients and brands should be paying for and agencies should be inspired to create,” Reghunath signed off.
For the record, with 19 shortlists for Dentsu Webchutney and Dentsu Impact, Dentsu Aegis Network India has secured the top position in India tally at Cannes Lions 2019.