AgencyCon 2022: India at Cannes - What went behind the winning campaigns?

Shreshti Thorat
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India Cannes

We bring together a panel of Cannes Lions winners from India to share their insights on the plan, strategy, and execution of what went into the making of the campaigns that won big.

Arpan Jain, Executive Creative Director, at VMLY&R Commerce, Shekhar Banerjee, Chief Client Officer- West, at Wavemaker India and P.G. Aditiya, Co-Founder, at Talented discuss India's performance at Cannes Lions 2022, giving an inside of view of what went behind creating the winning campaigns.

VMLY&R Commerce took home metals for their Max Flash – ‘The Killer Pack’, Unipads ‘Adeli, and Unilever’s ‘Smart Fill’ campaigns.

Ogilvy Mumbai x Wavemaker's Cadbury Celebrations’ ‘Shahrukh Khan – My Ad’ campaign also won big at the advertising festival.

‘The Unfiltered History Tour’ by Dentsu Creative became the most awarded campaign in Indian advertising history at the festival. At the core of the campaign is the team which now runs the agency - Talented.

Behind The Scenes

Aditya shared how the campaign idea didn't evolve from a client brief but was inspired by the fact that Vice is dedicated to creating content that matters. The serendipitous thing was that the team was watching Empires of Dirt, which is about the impact of colonialism around the world and the intergenerational impact of colonialism. One of the topics covered was how museums are "scenes of crime", especially the British museum. So, the idea was born after watching that show.

He shares that the research happened through the British museum's layout on Google earth as none of the team members had visited it.

Giving an idea of what went behind their winning campaign, Arpan shared the challenges they faced with The Killer Pack. The team struggled with how to procure the bacteria that actually kills the larvae, the ICMR doesn't give it to everybody. The second challenge was to get it printed on the pack. They tried mixing the ink with the bacteria and then thought of printing it but it jammed the machine because the density of the ink went up. The only thing that could be done was the screen print with ink and bacteria on the pack. But once it was done they wanted the bacteria to stay for a longer duration so the team tried out several things.

He also threw some light on the challenge for Smart fill which was oil getting dispensed from the oil wending machine and thought of using that mechanism to dispense the detergent and conditioner, but after the team started working towards it they realised that it could not work because of the viscosity of the detergent. So they had to reprogram and reengineer the whole mechanism.

Shekhar shared his experience of how Cadbury as a brand, owned space in generosity. It was not that they wanted to do so purpose-led campaign but it was about the space that the brand knew. The brand knew it can do more than just sell chocolates and that somewhere inspired the team to get into the space in 2021 right after the lockdown.

What everyone saw was Shah Rukh made an ad which won a lot of awards. The story behind the campaign was when the team started with the purpose that the bulk of the business of this brand comes during Diwali but no one will be able to have a great Diwali if others are suffering. To make it more than just talking about selling the brand translated the thought into a campaign idea.

Shekhar commented, “The most important thing for a great idea to work is resilience. You don't let go of an idea that you have, just because you are hitting hurdles. You have to keep crossing them and make sure that the technology does not look jarring on the face of the consumer.“

Idea First Campaigns

The expert shared that the idea comes first. Today the landscape has changed and one cannot do linear execution of those ideas anymore to make them addressable and relatable to the consumers. That's where the technology comes in, so to evaluate the right partner bringing them in very early in the journey.

Make sure whatever agencies are doing is not only for the sake of an idea, because a great idea has to work for the business, for the purpose for why it has been made.

Also read: I joined advertising with a resignation letter & not an offer letter says, Josy Paul at #AgencyCon2022 

Final Thoughts

P. G Aditya stated that the industry should start "briefing our brands back. Sometimes our brands brief us sometimes we brief our brands.”

Arpan Jain believes in creating an impact on the community and the culture. Overall with all the ideas, the objective is to solve a business or a cultural problem, it's a taboo that one must try to break.

Shekhar Banerjee shared how one must believe in an idea that's and why they present it. How far one will go to make sure the idea happens because a lot of ideas which win and create a big business impact are the most difficult ones to do. How far one is willing to push themselves and break every wall to make that idea happen?

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