“All companies credited on an entry, either as entrant, or advertising agency, or media agency, or production company etc. can claim the Lion,” say the organisers of the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.
We spoke with adlanders in India to find out whether they consider this fair to the lead agency on the campaign, or the agency that came up with the ‘big idea’. The view across the board is that in the collaboration era, all communication partners should share an award. But there are a few riders.
Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India, says, “My immediate response is that if the entrant agency has included the names of other agencies or talent in the credit list, then it’s their award too. But questions arise. What if the idea came from one agency, and the other agency only executed it? But they executed it so brilliantly that they shone the torch on the idea. Now whose award is it? It feels a bit grey, right?” asks Paul.
Paul underlines his point with two analogies – one from life and the other from the FIFA World Cup: “The father only sowed the seed. The mother carried the baby for nine months. Yet, the child belongs to both. Let’s compare this to football. Take Argentina’s goal versus Switzerland. Messi took on the entire team and provided Di Maria with a great opportunity to win Argentina the match. The goal is credited to Di Maria and not Messi, because he’s the one who scored it. Whose goal is it? Is this comparison justified in advertising? In advertising we may decide that it all depends on a case by case basis. Honestly, the answer lies in your heart. It’s not technical, it’s emotional.”
Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot India, echoes Paul’s sentiments and says there’s a thin line that has to be maintained in claiming an award. “An agency (on the list of credits) can claim, but at the same time they shouldn’t ‘over claim’. With ‘I am Mumbai’, we won (Taproot) and so did Abhinay (Deo), and there was no reason for conflict. Actually all conflict should be sorted before we begin work and that’s the relationship people work on,” says Padhi.
Arvind Sharma, chairman, AAAI, says sharing of awards will be a norm going forward. He notes, “In a world of collaboration, sharing of awards should be allowed. Specifically in categories such as digital, where sometimes agency A has thought of the idea and used agency B’s expertise to execute it.”
Ravi Rao, leader, South Asia, Mindshare, also agrees on sharing of awards. He cites an example to make his point: “While the big idea for a campaign may come from one agency of a brand’s marketing mix, in most cases it takes the effort a multitude of agencies and teams to make it a great idea and achieve results that effectively communicate with the audience. If there is a reasonably strong input to making the idea come alive given by another partner, it is worthwhile to give credit - like Ogilvy gave a joint credit for Mindshare in the Lifebuoy Roti campaign at the Kumbh Mela.”
Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer - financial services, Aditya Birla Group, surmises, “Cannes has taken a bold and much needed step, by giving credit and recognition to all the partners. In today’s world, ideas can and will emerge from anywhere, and therefore, any agency. The ideas are then best amplified with help of the surround sound that it can generate, thanks to specialist partners, to magnify the impact of the idea.”
Ajay Kakar, chief marketing officer - financial services, Aditya Birla Group
“In the journey, many partners come together and it may no longer be fair to only credit any one agency as the only agency behind the coming-live of the idea. I therefore feel that Cannes has taken a bold and much needed step, by giving credit and recognition to all the partners.”
Ravi Rao, leader, South Asia, Mindshare
“The way Cannes does for contributing agency would be appropriate as this is an era of open source and collaboration among multiple partners. The primary credit is for the agency that comes with the idea. It is fair for all those who have made the campaign a success to partake in the recognition for the award.”
Santosh Padhi, co-founder and chief creative officer, Taproot India
“Within an advertising agency also there are 20 people listed in the credits, but the main work is done by two or three people. Similarly, there are integrated campaigns with several agencies having worked on it. We expect only the main one(s) to claim it.”
Josy Paul, chairman and chief creative officer, BBDO India
“You know it takes two to create. Most often, it takes many more. My suggestion is, be generous. But in case of extreme disputes, the client would be the right person to judge who actually deserves it more. The client is your best eye witness.”
Arvind Sharma, chairman, AAAI
“In a world of collaboration, sharing of awards should be allowed. Specifically in categories such as digital, where sometimes the agency A has thought of the idea and used agency B’s expertise to execute it.”
(This appeared in the issue of Campaign India dated 11 July 2014)