Learning from Talented’s Cannes Lions success

Following Talented’s win at last year’s Cannes Lions, Sanket Audhi shares insights on crafting award-winning campaigns, emphasising the importance of bold ideas, strong audience engagement, and authenticity.

Sneha Medda
New Update
Talented's Cannes Lions

Cannes Lions is one of those accolades that honours and recognises groundbreaking creativity and the ability to capture audiences in meaningful ways. Talented’s remarkable achievement in 2023, winning two bronze medals at Cannes Lions for their campaign 'Why is this a Swiggy Ad?' in the PR and Social & Influencer categories, offers valuable insights for other agencies aiming for similar success.

Sanket Audhi, Creative and Founding Member at Talented, shares key learnings and reflections on what it takes to craft an award-winning campaign.

Redefining the Ad experience

What set 'Why is this a Swiggy Ad?' apart was its audacious redefinition of traditional advertising. According to Sanket Audhi, the campaign transcended mere food delivery promotion by engaging the audience in an active dialogue with the brand. "It didn't just speak to the audience — it pulled them into Swiggy’s world, making them question their own connection with the brand," he explains.

The campaign’s humour, everyday relatability, and hidden easter eggs turned passive viewers into active participants, fostering a playful and memorable interaction. This innovative approach seamlessly wove Swiggy's message into the narrative, creating an organic brand affinity that resonated deeply with audiences. "This blend of surprise, engagement, and subtlety resulted in unprecedented brand love scores for the brand and two lovely Lions at Cannes," Audhi adds.

Reflecting on past Cannes Lions winners, Audhi highlights several campaigns that have influenced Talented's creative direction. "The 'Cheetos Museum' campaign was pure genius, transforming finding shapes in Cheetos into a nationwide craze with the simplest of user-generated content. It was fun, engaging, and perfectly captured the brand’s playful spirit," he says.

Similarly, Burger King’s 'Stevenage Challenge' leveraged a small football club sponsorship to achieve massive global exposure through digital and social media. Audhi notes, "Sponsoring a tiny football club to hijack the digital space on FIFA and social media was a masterstroke in turning a small sponsorship into massive global exposure." 

IHOP's temporary rebranding to 'iHob' stirred national interest, driving significant traffic to its restaurants. "These examples underscore the effectiveness of bold, well-executed ideas in creating substantial brand impact," Audhi emphasises.

Standing out at Cannes

For a campaign to stand out at Cannes, Audhi identifies several critical elements: originality, emotional impact, clarity, execution, and cultural relevance.

"Originality is the cornerstone — breaking new ground with fresh, bold ideas," he explains. Emotional impact is vital; campaigns that touch hearts and minds leave lasting impressions. "Clarity in message ensures that the essence of the campaign is understood and felt," Audhi continues. 

Flawless execution, from the first frame to the final cut, shows a dedication to craft that judges appreciate. "Lastly, tapping into pop-culture (zeitgeist), addressing current cultural moments or social issues, gives a campaign relevance and urgency that can elevate it above the rest," he adds. Keeping these points as your markers gives your campaign a fighting chance on the global stage.

Advice for first-time entrants

For those submitting their work to Cannes Lions for the first time, Audhi offers straightforward yet profound advice. "Study past winners not to imitate, but to understand the pulse of great storytelling and innovation," he suggests. 

Crafting a precise narrative with tangible results showcases the real impact of the campaign, both in numbers and human terms. "Showcase tangible results—demonstrate how your work made an impact, not just in numbers, but in real, human terms," he advises. 

Authenticity, staying true to the brand’s voice and values, is a cornerstone of successful campaigns. "Authenticity is your anchor; stay true to your brand’s voice and values," he emphasizes. Lastly, embracing feedback from peers and mentors can refine and elevate the work, ensuring it resonates deeply with the audience and judges alike. "Let your peers and mentors challenge and refine your work. Remember, Cannes celebrates not just creativity, but the courage to push boundaries and the wisdom to know what truly resonates with people," Audhi concludes.

cannes lions talented Why is this a Swiggy ad learnings from winners