How award-winning Indian campaigns are melting hearts in the Cannes ad-fest

Grey’s Barbershop Girls, Wunderman Thompson’s Blink and TBWA’s One Mindful Mind have been some of the key metal winners so far
The story of two girls from Uttar Pradesh, who bridged the gender divide to run their father’s barbershop, melted hearts in faraway France. Procter & Gamble’s ad film Barbershop Girls for brand Gillette, which won a silver in the Entertainment Lions for Music category at the on-going Cannes Ad Fest, is one of three key campaigns that have brought laurels to the Indian contingent so far. The other two campaigns are Wunderman Thompson’s Blink and TBWA India’s One Mindful Mind

Metals is industry parlance for awards.

Narrated from the perspective of a little boy who hails from the same village as the girls, it describes how the set gender roles around him draws his attention. Girls do the house chores and boys study and play until he walks into the local barbershop to see the girls running it. His father explains to him: Razors don’t differentiate between boys and girls.

Launched last month on digital media, Barbershop Girls was the Indian version of P&G’s recent campaign for Gillette in the US, where it had flipped the brand’s popular tagline — The best a man can get – to – The best a man can be –  as it sought to promote a positive, inclusive and healthy version of being a man.

Sandipan Bhattacharyya, chief creative officer (CEO), Grey Group India, said winning in the entertainment category at Cannes was significant since it meant the communication had gone beyond conventional advertising. “We have always believed in making the brands we work for a part of popular culture and to be recognised for it is satisfying,” he said.

Wunderman Thompson’s ‘Blink’ campaign for international photographer Jimmy Nelson is another piece of work that has grabbed attention of the Indian contingent. It has won a bronze Lion in the industry craft category and has been shortlisted in many more. Rohit Ohri, group chairman and CEO, FCB India, said Blink captures the thought of preserving indigenous cultures and identities well.  “The use of images of indigenous people (in the ad film) who disappear with the blink of an eye is brilliant,” he added.

TBWA’s One Mindful Mind helped India open its account at the Cannes Ad Fest, bagging a bronze Lion each in health care and print and publishing. It is an interactive tool kit, which helps parents turn into counsellors for their children battling depression, mood disorders and anxiety. Govind Pandey, CEO, TBWA India, said wins were important.  Tackling mental health issues, especially, among children, is the need of the hour.

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