India off to a slow start at Cannes ad fest; TBWA India bags a bronze Lion

A lower count of metals on Day One of the Cannes Ad Fest will mean that it will get tougher for the Indian contingent to better the scorecard as the festival wears on
Indian agencies were off to a slow start on Monday as the Cannes Ad Fest, billed as the Oscars of advertising, announced winners for categories such as health and wellness, print and publishing, outdoor and design. While Indian agencies had a total of 19 shortlists in these segments, only TBWA India has managed to bag a bronze Lion in health and wellness, Business Standard has reliably learnt.

Indian participants were still hoping for wins in outdoor, print and publishing and design, respectively, at the time of going to press, since domestic agencies have been traditionally strong in these segments. A clear picture will emerge on Tuesday once these awards are through.

The category of pharmaceuticals, winners for which were also announced on Monday, had no Indian entries shortlisted. Shortlists ensure that agencies are in the race for metals, industry parlance for awards.

TBWA’s winning piece of work was for Navi Mumbai-based NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, titled One Mindful Mind, an interactive tool kit that helps parents turn into counsellors for their children battling depression, mood disorders and anxiety. TBWA had two shortlists for this piece of work and was the only Indian agency to be shortlisted in this category.

A lower count of metals on Day One of the Cannes Ad Fest will mean that it will get tougher for the Indian contingent to increase its scorecard as the festival wears on, said experts.

"Over the past few years, health care and glass lions have been two categories where Indian agencies have had big wins. This year, however, there were no shortlists at all in pharma, which is part of the health care category. And, in health and wellness, also part of the health care segment, there were only two shortlists. Clearly, there wasn't enough work to show here,” said K V Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer, Hyper Collective, who tracks the Cannes Ad Fest closely. “But I still remain hopeful,” he said.

Ad industry sources said there were fewer pieces of work entered in the health care category at this year’s Cannes despite the overall tally of entries from India growing nearly 8 per cent to 1,053. The contributors to the increase (in entries) this year were categories such as digital, media and public relations and all eyes will be on how India does in these segments later this week.

Some of the other contenders for metals from India include Wunderman Thompson’s Blink campaign and Ogilvy’s work for Hindustan Unilever’s Hamam soap. The latter has been shortlisted in the glass lion category, which rewards agencies for the work they undertake around social issues. Ogilvy created waterproof saris for women wishing to take a dip in the Ganges during the Kumbh Mela in response to a pressing problem around the same.

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