Amit Akali
May 29, 2017

What I hope to see at Cannes Lions: Amit Akali

The CCO of Medulla Communications, who is serving on this year's Pharma Lions jury, wants to see work that breaks through the category's restrictions.

What I hope to see at Cannes Lions: Amit Akali
While Health & Wellness and Pharmaceuticals are fairly new categories, they’ve seen some exciting progress in the last few years. Since the Health Lions kick off the festival, these awards are where a few entries will stand out, get recognised and then go on to win across other categories throughout the festival.
Last year, for example, ‘Man boobs’ [by Argentinian agency David Buenos Aires for MACMA] won the Lions Health ‘Grand Prix for Good’ before collecting awards in several other categories. It was most people’s favourite campaign, too.
I understand that pharma, as a category, comes with lots of restrictions. Personally, I have always seen this as an opportunity. Work that shines in spite of the constraints stands out very easily and can even turn out to be edgier than other work. ‘Man boobs’, for example, took on censorship regulations on Facebook and got appreciated for the same. With my experience judging mainline advertising award shows over the last 20 years, I will be looking in 2017 for pieces that use the basics—great insight, fresh creativity and outstanding execution—to break beyond the restrictions and stand out.
Another interesting aspect of judging pharma and healthcare is that most of the work we see will have helped change and improve lives. Beyond this, I will also look for ads that actually work hard to do justice to the molecules and efficacies involved in pharma as well, by using creativity and clever execution tools to make it magical.
(Amit Akali is chief creative officer of Medulla Communications in India and is serving on this year's  Pharma Lions jury. This article first appeared on
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