India trails in global creativity sweepstakes

At the end of five days, India has 22 metals in its kitty


Viveat Susan Pinto Mumbai
The Indian contingent has 22 metals in its kitty at the end of five days at the Cannes Ad Fest. This is a respectable figure and should help the country in its march towards the 25-metal mark.

But for a contingent that has sent nearly 1,400 entries this year to Cannes, the conversion rate into awards has been less than two per cent, ad experts say. This is small when compared to countries such as the US, UK and Brazil, which remain big creative drivers at Cannes.

  • At the end of five days, India has 22 metals in its kitty
  • Agencies that helped pile up the numbers included Rediffusion Y&R, BBDO and PHD
  • These wins came in media and online (cyber) categories
  • Going forward, India has seven shortlists in film & one in entertainment
  • The expectation is India should touch the 25-metal mark in the next two days

A recent report on global creativity brought out by the Cannes organisers following the 2015 edition of the festival says the world's creative destinations are New York, London, Sao Paulo and Paris. The report indicates that regions such as North America, Europe and Latin America are key creative belts in the world. India does not figure here.

Does that then mean India is falling behind on the global creative map at a time when domestic advertising is set to boom?

A mid-year forecast last week by Magna Global, a unit of IPG Mediabrands, puts India at the tenth position in the pecking order of global advertising markets in 2016, up two notches over last year. The report also says that by 2020, India will be the sixth largest advertising market in the world valued at $16 billion (Rs 1.02 lakh crore). The market is currently $9 billion (Rs 56,381 crore) in size, according to the report.

Experts say India continues to be strong in traditional categories such as print, television and outdoor even as the world's creative hotspots devote much of their attention to segments such as digital, mobile and social media marketing and advertising. The numbers reflect the trend: On day five of the ongoing Cannes festival, India bagged just one bronze in the cyber or online category for BBDO's 'Share the Load' campaign. This was for Procter & Gamble's Ariel Matic. There were no other wins at all in this category. Segments such as mobile and social media drew a blank for Indian agencies on day five despite a total of 17 shortlists across these categories.

The other winners of day five were in the media category, a segment like the Glass Lions, which is emerging as an Indian agency favourite. Rediffusion Y&R bagged a Silver Lion for its 'Dipper Condoms' initiative by Tata Motors in this category. Dipper Condoms is a campaign that encourages safe sex among truck drivers.

To attract the attention of drivers, the agency branded condoms distributed to them as 'Dipper', which is a term commonly used by drivers to dim their headlights at night.

This campaign found instant resonance with the jury and so did Hindustan Unilever's 'Lo Kar Lo Baat' for brand Active Wheel. This won a bronze in the media category for agency PHD. This campaign targeted married couples in rural areas where they were allowed to make three-minute phone calls for free to their spouses thanks to a mobile service operated by HUL. In 2014 and 2015, HUL had a unique radio station called Kan Khajura Teshan, which also clicked with the Cannes jury.

As the festival moves to its close, the last of the shortlists have been announced. India has seven shortlists in the film category and one in entertainment, which means that hopes remain alive for the Indian contingent.

First Published: Jun 24 2016 | 12:35 PM IST

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