At the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity, the mood was sombre. Most agencies had significantly cut down the number of delegates they sent to the festival. There were some leading Indian agencies that sent only one representative as a token participation in the festival.
Globally, Publicis Groupe announced that it was going to be out of Cannes next year as it focused investments on its internal AI platform. WPP announced that the number of delegates that it sent to Cannes was down to nearly 500 this year from 1000 in 2016.
Amidst all this, was a sense of optimism. A clutch of regional ad agencies from India were at the Cannes Lions. Campaign India caught up with four such delegates from the state of Maharashtra.
One such individual was Marathi film producer, Anish Joag, director, Pratisaad Communications, a Pune-based communications agency. “The work that we are doing as an 'advertising agency' in India is going through a lot of change, almost a complete overhaul,” he says and adds, “the time is now, to completely rethink the kind of work we do and the way we do it. That is why I thought it was important to come to a place where I can learn in what direction the world of creativity is moving. I think Cannes is definitely the best place to study that,” he says.
According to Joag, the many sessions by industry leaders and the work that he saw here was totally motivating and opened his vision to newer possibilities. “The award winning work that I have seen has given me a lot of motivation and renewed energy,” he says.
Janak Sarda, joint managing director, Deshdoot, a Nashik headquartered Marathi newspaper, says that he was thrilled to meet agency executives from his region at Cannes. “I think embracing change as a community would help lot more than doing it individually. Cannes gives us the exposure to the emerging trends which might change the way we conduct our business,” he says.
“Advertising needs fearless leadership in these tumultuous times. The future is mobile first and we are in the "Attention getting" business -- fighting the swiping and scrolling thumb. Artificial intelligence will do all the repetitive work, and agencies will continue doing what they do best -- story telling in short capsules. The emergence of podcasts and bots is an interesting area to study further,” says Sameer Desai, CEO, Seagull branding and advertising services.
Kiran Bhat, CMD, Xebec Communications, another Pune-headquartered agency sums up the feelings. “It has been a great learning experience learning from the world's best creative minds. Creative Technology was the key take away this year,” she says.
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Total entries are down 6% on 2019 - but there has been a surge in entries from indie agencies and production companies