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Three Cheers To Another Great Year

With 40 Lions, 2017 has been India’s best year at The Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Within only the first four days, India bagged 21 Lions including a Grand Prix for Good, a Gold in the hotly contested Glass Lions and its very first Innovation Lion

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For want of a better analogy, the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity is like a report card for the creative industry on the work done in the past year and how it compared to global benchmarks. Last year, with 27 Lions, India had a good year; not to mention a great recovery from 2015, when Indian agencies had brought home only 13 Lions.

This year has been India’s best year so far with 40 Lions. We begin our coverage with the first four days when India won 21 Lions, including a Grand Prix for Good in the Lions Health category, a Glass Lions Gold and a Silver in Innovation Lions. The complete list of Cannes Lions winners will be covered in the following issue.

The Grand Prix

McCann Health’s work, Immunity Charm, for the Ministry of Public Health, Islamic Republic of Afghanistan swept away the Pharma Lions. The agency was given a Grand Prix for Good for the campaign in addition to four Gold Lions, four Silvers and a Bronze in the Lions Health categories.

While the work was done for Kabul, Harshit Jain, senior vice-president and country manager for McCann Health India, believes it is relevant to India too, where infant mortality rate is high in certain cities. In the case of Afghanistan, which has the poorest health indicators in the world, the government was seeking creative solutions, and the immunity charm fit the bill perfectly.

India’s First Innovation Lion

Leo Burnett bagged a Silver Innovation Lion for its entry ‘Roads That Honk’ for HPCL. Innovation Lions is among the tougher categories in the festival as it takes the conversation beyond creativity to actively include technology-led solutions, targeting real-life problems. This is India’s first Innovation Lions, and this year, Publicis Groupe is the only winner in the category.

Saurabh Varma, CEO, Publicis Communications India, looks at the win as a reflection of the larger changes in the industry itself. “If wave one was about the big global creative work, wave two was about home and culture-rooted creativity that touched an emotional chord. We are now seeing a wave three come into play that builds on technology, is participative, experiential, branded utility, essentially combining media and ideas. We have been speaking about this for the last three years, and this win is symbolic of the journey we undertook.”

The Glass Gold

Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi bagged a Gold Glass Lion. #GiveHer5 is a social movement to draw attention to the five days of school that the 350 million girls in India miss out on every month due to their period. Studies show that one in five girls in India is forced to drop out of school after they start menstruating. #GiveHer5 is trying to give them five of ‘those’ days back.

Kickstarted by Ashok Kurien and the Ammada Trust, #GiveHer5 crowd-sourced funds to provide and make affordable Saafkins — the world’s first reusable, 12-hour menstrual protection. “The win has just been an affirmation that only good things can come from doing good,” says Delna Sethna, Chief Creative Officer, Law & Kenneth Saatchi & Saatchi.”


Publicis Groupe shocked the creative fraternity when it announced mid-week that it would not be participating in the festival in 2018. The Groupe will be taking a break from all marketing spends that it makes through the year. This would mean not sending delegates, sponsoring or entering in any award show or forums.

WPP CEO Martin Sorrell says the “jury is out” on whether WPP too will cut down further expenses on Cannes Lions.


After bringing glory to India by winning the Grand Prix Glass Lion last year, India’s first

transgender band, the Brooke Bond Red Label 6-Pack Band set the stage ablaze, with a live concert this year.

“We are grateful to the Cannes Lions committee for recognising the Brooke Bond Red Label 6-Pack Band. The band’s journey has been challenging as they (the members) have fought social barriers throughout their lives without losing hope,” says Gauravjeet Singh, Hindustan Unilever’s head of media for South Asia.

“At the center of this journey has been an incredible team of talented individuals from Unilever, Mindshare, YRF and Music boutique who executed this out-of- the-box idea and added scale to the social message. Watching them perform at  Cannes was delightful, and another milestone in our continuing journey to breaking barriers,” adds Prasanth Kumar, CEO, Mindshare, South Asia.