Mehta
Jun 29, 2023

Cannes Lions 2023: 'An experience greater than the reward'

The author shares experiences and learnings from his first visit to the festival

Cannes Lions 2023: 'An experience greater than the reward'
For young professionals in marketing and advertising, Cannes Lions is probably the most inspiring experience you will have in your entire career. 
 
My dear friend and colleague Abhishree J Kumar and I were chosen as the Young Lions competitors in the media category to represent India at the 70th Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. 
 
I think I'm still digesting the fact that it actually happened. 
 
That we made it to the beautiful coast of Cannes in the South of France, to not only celebrate the best work to come out of the industry in the past year but also to compete with the best young talent in the world. 
 
What felt even more surreal was that some of the brilliant work done by my team at Mindshare India like Dove's Thumbstopping Beauty Biases and the Kwality Walls Trixy Cinegame, were part of this celebration as strong contenders for the awards in the Media category.
 
We attended the festival from the 19th to the 23rd of June and from the day we landed, time just floated by. The energy of the festival, the inspiring sessions from speakers like David Droga, Kevin Hart, Mike White and two generations of our very own, Josy Paul and PG Aditya. 
 
The FOMO of the hundreds of parties and events and gatherings and meet-ups together with the beauty of your surroundings can make days feel like hours. 
 
On arriving in Cannes, the first thing you'll notice is the people. An eclectic mix of cultures, fashions, accents, ideas and perspectives, who are all experiencing the same collective euphoria. For us Young Lions, it was over 450 competitors from 70 countries, which made our experience so overwhelming and fascinating at the same time. 
 
There are a total of seven categories that a team can participate in - Print, Media, Design, PR, Digital, Film and Marketers. Each team is given a brief and has 24 hours to turn it around with a presentation that explains your idea and strategy. 
 
For Media, PR and Digital, there's also a presentation to the Jury which is probably the most stressful part of the competition.
 
Being thrown into the deep end is a great way to test/sharpen one's skills, and the pressure of delivering a world-class idea on a complex brief within the given time can be extremely anxiety-inducing, but if you get it right can be extremely fulfilling at the same time. 
 
Every year, the briefs are given by an NGO on a Social Cause, and this year's partners were New Zero World, Rocket Learning and EcoTree. 
 
While the Indian contingent worked hard to put together some amazing work for each of our briefs, we didn't qualify for a win. 
 
But the one feeling that reverberated among all the Young Lions was that no one is necessarily better than anybody else regretted not winning, cause the most precious reward is the experience of competing (and in Cannes) itself.
 
The biggest learning to take away from this entire experience is that an idea can come from anywhere, and ultimately it is work that is rooted in human and behavioural insights, that are key to delivering work that is highly relevant, easy to connect with and memorable for the jury. This experience itself offers so much to learn, and so many different ways to look at a brief. It's incredibly humbling to see the great work and the ability of the competitors to come up with such amazing concepts and ideas in a matter of hours. 
 
Even though we didn't get this win, I'm still coming home with a Bronze Lion for my team and my champions, Abhay Sachar, Sunny Rangwani, Meherzad Contractor, Ajay Mehta and the entire Mindshare contingent at Cannes. Mindshare also won the Media Network Agency of the Year. 
 
I also return as an inspired not so young creative, ready to chew into the next brief.  
 
See you when I see you (again) Cannes.
 
P.S. If you're heading to Cannes next year, make sure to RSVP for as many beach parties as you can. Especially the Spotify one. 
 
The author is director – Content+, Mindshare.
Source:
Campaign India

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