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When India Roars At The Lions

What are we passionate about — the business of marketing and advertising? Being a creative professional? Being a journalist? Representing India?

Photo Credit : Cannes Lions Facebook

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By some strange chance, when I was making up my mind on what I should write about Cannes Lions, Facebook popped up one of its ‘share your memory’ from eight years ago. Lo and behold, it was me, black hair and all, posing with a Grand Prix. India’s first in fact. Clear as yesterday, I recalled every second of what the India camp parked at Cannes Lions in 2008 was going through. JWT had won the award for ‘Lead India’ in the Direct Lions category. The agency’s top execs at the time — Colvyn Harris and Agnello Dias — and everyone around them, including competing agencies and totally unrelated people like me, were all exceptionally elated. The whole week was only about celebrations, which included some very expensive champagne, at the Gutter Bar.

It was India’s dream run year. We were on a spree of performing better than previous years, shining on the global map. Many fantastic things had happened in that week. As a journalist, the highs of big interviews and story coups were all there. And yet, that win is the one memory that makes me smile, every time. That win really had nothing to do with me. It was akin to attending a cricket match and feeling victorious when the home team wins.

In the past four years, I have attended Cannes Lions more from a digital development standpoint, meaning I learned about the famous Cannes Lions India scoreboard from other publications. The coverage has ranged from ‘India’s good run’ to ‘India disappoints’. It is so much like sports coverage. God knows, I glared at some Brazilian reporters at the press centre for the better part, secretly hoping it was world football championship time and Brazil was losing. Admittedly silly, but there it is: India’s wins matter even to someone sitting outside the ring.

Cannes Lions is not so much about who won what, as it is about a sense of extreme passion that is infectious in its very nature and leaves a lasting impression.

What are we passionate about — the business of marketing and advertising? Being a creative professional? Being a journalist? Representing India? There are no wrong answers here. Passion is needed to sustain the insanity that is a by-product of being creative. It is needed to make sense of the many compromises, hopeless situations, sometimes even of desperation. Passion is good — it fuels and refuels. It differentiates a handful few from the faceless many. Passion is all that the adlanders are about — and that is why they are aptly, even though sexist, dubbed as mad men.

So, when I write about this year’s Cannes Lions — it is going to be about a sense of pride of seeing veterans such as Piyush Pandey, Prasoon Joshi, Josy Paul and Rajiv Rao, among others, represent India on the Cannes stage. It would be about newer talent winning another Glass Lion Grand Prix or being named Healthcare Agency of the Year. It will also be about a very high dose of inspiration seeing industry’s top leaders leave everything aside and come together to make the world a better place.

After attending Cannes Lions for more than a decade, do I WANT to go there and do the same old, very repetitive, very predictable things again? You bet.

[email protected]; @NFWarsia