"India has had a good opening this year with health care," Prasoon Joshi, chairman, McCann Asia-Pacific, and chief executive and chief creative officer of McCann Worldgroup India, said when speaking about his agency's nine-metal haul plus Grand Prix at the Lion Health Awards on June 17. "This momentum should continue through the week," he said. McCann's 'Immunity Charm' has gone on to pick up awards across categories through the week and so have campaigns such as 'Adidas Odds' by Taproot Dentsu, 'Roads that Honk' by Leo Burnett India, and 'Savlon Healthy Hands Chalk Sticks' by Ogilvy & Mather India.
So far, categories that have clicked for the Indian contingent include health care, outdoor, glass, public relations, promo and activation, design, innovation, direct marketing and media. But there have been misses, too, including print and publishing, cyber, mobile, digital craft and entertainment Lions for music where Indian work failed to click.
K V Sridhar, founder and chief creative officer, Hyper Collective Creative Solutions, says that the competitive intensity at Cannes is steadily growing as the number of categories now is higher than it was a few years ago.
"The Cannes Ad Fest began as a three-day affair, moved to a five-day cycle, and now stretches up to eight days. As a result, the competitive intensity has grown, pushing agencies to put their best foot forward. Even a blip or slip-up could ruin an agency's chance to win metal," he says.
While cyber, mobile, digital craft and entertainment Lions yielded no shortlists for India, print and publishing had a total of nine shortlists among three agencies, McCann Worldgroup, The Social Street, and DDB Mudra Group.
The bigger challenge, said experts, would be to bounce back with stronger work in print next year, given that it remains the second-largest advertising category in India, with an estimated market size of nearly Rs 19,000 crore.