The co-founders of Medulla Communications will be speaking on 19 June at the Health Inspiration Stage, Palais II. We caught up with the duo to learn more about the session and their plans during Cannes.
What can we expect from your session at Cannes? Can you give us a teaser?
Praful Akali (PA): The session is titled ‘Experiments with life-changing creativity’. That’s essentially what the Lions Health motto has been since 2014 and we are excited to talk about that. We are proud that they have selected us as an agency to talk about that topic.
We don't want this session to be about ‘what we have done, or what your agency should be doing’. We'll be showcasing our experiments with creativity.
We have Pooran Isarsingh, the patient coming in to be a part of the session. She starred in the ‘Last Laugh’ campaign that won many accolades. She'll be talking about her experiences and learnings as a consumer of such content and being a part of it.
We also have a client, Heather Bresch, CEO, Mylan. We have been working with her team for a bit and Mylan is a client has bought into our thoughts. The three (Medulla, Pooran and Mylan) perspectives together should be interesting.
Amit Akali: It's a life changing journey for Pooran. She's in her late 80s. She didn't have a passport. As a person she's seen so much in life. It will be quite amazing being on stage in Cannes. It's a nice topic, but more than that it'll be an interesting conversation.
In fact, the interesting journey began at the visa interview. Three or four people got together and started clapping for her. They had never given a visa to someone born in 1931! When they gave it they stood and clapped for her because she had the 'speaking invitation' letter from Cannes.
We'd lost one of these patients in the past year, and with Pooran, two years ago, she literally was on the ventilator. Her family was called in to say bye. She came back from the ventilator, and while her heart at works at 10-15 per cent only, she's full of life.
How has life changed at Medulla after winning the 'Healthcare Agency of the Year' at Cannes?
PA: The biggest thing is the kind of clients and kind of work we're getting to do. It's been really interesting.
We are getting to do work that gives us that kick. That's one reason we're working with Mylan.
Within the advertising industry too, really interesting conversations are happening.
AA: We are now working on international brands from India.
In terms of the Indian industry, our creativity was benchmarked against Healthcare industries previously. In 2016 we not only were the healthcare agency of the year, but also the most awarded agency from India. A lot more consumer healthcare work has come. It's translated into business and thought leadership.
Other than your session, what are you looking forward to?
PA and AA: This year the answer has to be: the Pandey brothers.
Gutter bar or the Lumière Theatre. Where are we more likely to spot the Akali brothers?
Praful Akali: In four years to be the honest, I've been to the Gutter Bar only once and that was the night after we won the agency of the year in 2016!
Amit Akali: We are very boring people. It's a short trip for us. We'll also be taking care of a terminally ill patient. Which is why it'll be a very different Cannes experience.
(This article first appeared in Campaign's special Cannes supplement).