Ajay Kakar
Jun 27, 2011

Ajay Kakar's blog: Final day at Cannes Lions 2011

Ajay Kakar is chief marketing officer, financial services, Aditya Birla Group

Ajay Kakar's blog: Final day at Cannes Lions 2011

The 58th international festival of creativity is coming to a close. And it shows…today’s official agenda at the Palais started at a leisurely 10.30am. And closed by 4pm.  There was a fall in the audience within the auditoriums. There was a larger crowd outside the Palais and on the streets of Cannes.

All the delegates were looking forward to the last and most awaited awards night. In anticipation of the overwhelming crowd the doors of the Palais opened at 5.45pm for a ceremony that only began at 7pm. And the crowds had started lining up from well before 5pm, with everyone keen to get a good seat.

As always, the show started on the dot and the auditorium was packed, with many having to sit in the aisles and on the steps.

This year has been special. So far we have seen winners emerge from all over the globe, including first timers, like Bahrain, Serbia and Tunisia. Grand Prix winners include Romania, Korea and China.

Today’s awards night was reserved for the biggies – Film Craft, Film, Advertiser of the Year, Independent Agency of the Year, the newly introduced Creative Effectiveness Awards, The Integrated & Titanium Awards, the Lion of St. Marks, the Holding Company of the Year, the Network of the Year and the Agency of the Year. And the winners are…a few observations:

  • Film Craft – Nirvana + Ogilvy won a Gold for the best use of music
  • Film – a Bronze for JWT and Mudra
  • Film Production Company – the Top 10 were predominantly from USA and UK (one from Argentina)
  • The Advertiser of the Year was Ikea – having won 50 Lions in the last 20 years, this definitely came as no surprise
  • The Independent Agency of the Year – Wieden + Kennedy, Portland
  • The newly introduced Creative Effectiveness Award – this was contested by invitation, from among last year’s Lion winners, evaluated on the basis of business results. While there was an Indian on the Jury panel, regrettably there was no Jury member from India for this prestigious category. From among 10 contenders, there were 5 awarded a Gold. This included BBDO India’s work for Gillette, which held its own, along with McDonalds, Old Spice, HBO and Snickers
  • The Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness was won by Pepsico UK for its campaign for Walkers, entitled Sandwich
  • For the Integrated and Titanium categories, once again, there was no Jury member from India
  • The Integrated category saw a Gold awarded to Old Spice and Nike Football
  • The Integrated Grand Prix was won for Decode Jay, a very unique and intriguing book launch with Bing
  • The most coveted Titanium saw a Gold go to Volkswagen, for their speed camera lottery idea and to American Rom, the chocolate campaign that played up the national prestige and ego among Romanians. There was no Grand Prix awarded
  • The first Lion of St. Mark, awarded to Sir John Hegarty, for having served as an inspiration for the industry. Was very humbling to hear him give credit to his agency for this win, because “None of us is good as all of us”
  • The Holding Company of the Year was WPP, with Omnicom and the Publicis Groupe following
  • Given all its wins, was no surprise that the Network of the Year was BBDO, followed by Ogilvy and DDB
  • The Agency of the Year was ALMAP BBDO, Sau Paulo, just ahead of W+K Portland and BBDO New York

The announcements all over, the crowd and focus shifted to the beach opposite the Carlton Hotel for the Celebratory party. And in keeping with tradition, an elaborate fire display was the highlight of the evening. Though, from an Indian perspective, we see such displays every Diwali.

Before I sign off for this year, a few more observations

  • India ended its tally with 4 Gold. Are we satisfied with that?
  • Our performance in the Direct, Cyber and Film categories remain disappointments
  • All the winning films seemed to follow the long (very long) duration format
  • People at Cannes seem to love ice cream and dogs. You spot both of them, everywhere
  • The dogs come in all shapes and sizes. But you only see them. Didn’t hear any of one them bark

Until we meet next year, au revoir for now!

Campaign India

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