Cannes Lions 2018: Akali brothers, Pooran Isarsingh deliver a master class on 'life-changing' creativity

The trio were on the Health Inspiration stage on day two of the festival

Jun 19, 2018 02:53:00 PM | Article | Raahil Chopra

In a first of its kind session at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity, Medulla Communications’ Amit and Praful Akali took to the stage with terminally ill patient Pooran Isarsingh.
The Akali brothers shared some of their learnings regarding ‘life-changing creativity’ while Isarsingh did what she does best - share a few jokes on death.
Amit Akali began, “I switch between mainline and health care. What makes healthcare special is that we can’t do without ‘life-changing’ in the category.”
He urged the viewers at the ‘Health Inspiration’ corner to engage in a one-minute laughter therapy before going ahead with the session.
He continued, “It’s amazing. It might be difficult (to manufacture laughter), but it’s amazing.”
The duo then showed its mucb awarded ‘Last Laugh’ campaign for the Indian Association of Palliative Care.

Praful Akali said, “In India, speaking about death is a taboo. Even doctors don’t talk about it. Half of the patients being treated for cancer aren’t told about it.”
Amit added, “So we created this (Last Laugh) for IAPC and showed the importance of palliative care.”
The duo then invited Pooran Isarsingh to join them on stage. Isarsingh continued where she left off in ‘Last Laugh’, with a few witty comments.
After an introduction for her by Amit, Isarsingh joked, “My only claim to fame is that I’m alive. When I went to get my French Visa, an officer clapped for me after looking at my age. I told him to stop clapping then and start clapping when I come back alive.”
Praful Akali added that while Isarsingh has made it to Cannes as a speaker, a few others who were part of the ‘Last Laugh’ campaign weren’t so fortunate and lost their lives since the campaign was executed.
Isarsingh then built upon what the Akali brothers first said about how patients in India don’t like talking about their illnesses. “My sister-in-law had cancer. She didn’t tell the world about it. She had it at the age of 60 and asked her son to get married soon so that she could be at the celebrations. We knew she was going, but nobody other than the immediate family was aware, and they wouldn’t have even guessed it by the way she was enjoying herself at the wedding.
“It happened with me too. I was suffering with dengue for a while and then was put on the ventilator. I don’t remember anything from then. Doctors didn’t want me to go and tried hard to revive me. They called my relatives to India thinking I would be gone. This is almost like my second birth.”
On how the campaign made a difference to her, Isarsingh added, “I felt like a celebrity after the video. A lot of people were calling me up after seeing the video and coverage of it. I was being called a rock star. There’s one message I have for people – ‘Don’t die, thinking of death.”
Urging other creatives in the room to come up with work for patients, she said, “You guys have the power. If I can laugh and make people laugh, anyone can.”
Life-changing creativity different from high quality creativity
Praful Akali then explained the difference between life-changing creativity and any other high-quality creativity. “Ads are often designed to have add value for the brand. When they also have value for the audience – that’s life-changing creativity. Purpose-driven advertising makes a difference to lives,” he said.
Amit  described how the word purpose is highly abused though and warned creatives that it shouldn’t be treated like a prostitute, and it should instead be a long-standing commitment. “Purpose can’t be a one-night stand. Profit is not a purpose. Profit can be an objective, but when we benchmark all brand initiatives against profit, then we inadvertently make it a purpose.”
The duo then presented what previous winners at the Health Lions believed what life-changing creativity was and tips to work towards that. And one consistent learning was that people are willing to collaborate when ‘life-changing’ creativity was involved.