What’s On

A first timer’s expectations of the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity

For anyone and everyone who’s been a part of, or in some form have an association with the advertising & marketing communications industry – attending the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity is a hallmark of their professional career. As a young talent in the industry, it becomes ones personal and professional ambition to be a delegate to the Mecca of Creativity and brand-building.

You could imagine my excitement and sense of accomplishment when, just a few weeks ago – Nick Waters, the APAC CEO of the Dentsu Aegis Network, had written to me, inviting me to be one out of the two candidates to represent young talent in the region at this year’s Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity as a part of the Route 500 program. The Route 500 is a highly coveted, global career acceleration program of the Dentsu Aegis Network that identifies and tracks top talent in the organization and I was indeed lucky to be selected for this opportunity – so I’m going to make the most of it.

With my visa having arrived in the mail a few days ago, the feeling is just getting real. In a week’s time I’d be in the hub of innovation and excellence, among the brightest minds in the advertising, marketing and tech – all enjoying a glass of rosé in the otherwise quiet Boulevard de la Croisette of the idyllic town on the French Riviera, Cannes.

With the festival having evolved over the years from being the biggest advertising festival and awards celebration to now being branded as a meeting point between the worlds of advertising, marketing, entertainment, media, and technology – there certainly is a stellar line-up to look forward to.

Being an economist in the business of connecting brands with consumers, the session that I’m most definitely looking forward to attend is “What AI Teaches Us About Creativity and the Universe” that will be delivered by Adrian Bejan, the Duke University Professor who’s research in applied physics and constructal theory has won him many accolades and honorary degrees.

Apart from this one – I’m quite eager to attend the session by Sir Martin Sorrell and Ken Auletta as well as the session on how creativity can save our wildlife which will be delivered by the Game of Thrones actor who plays Jaime Lannister, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau.

Boasting of 40,000+ entries by 4700+ companies, in its 65th edition – the festival is known to showcase the crème de la crème of creative and marketing campaigns that have been audacious in their approach to solving a brand challenge whilst connecting with the consumer.

My top 5 campaigns that I personally hope to see pick up a few Lions at the Palais des Festivals this year are “iPad – Homework”, Tide’s 2018 Super Bowl spot “It’s A Tide Ad”, #PowerlessQueen campaign for the Indian NGO Project Nanhi Kali, the #PenguinDad campaign  by the Indian e-commerce giant – Flipkart and Reebok’s #BruisesCanBeGood campaign.

All five campaigns are creative in their own way and what I love about them is that all five inspire the user to drive a behavior change or to get the viewer to see something from a different perspective. Apple’s iPad spot drives home the insight that kids don’t hate homework – they just hate being bored. Tide’s Ad is a hilarious and entertaining ad that displays an innovation in delivering product centric communication while being subliminally tricked – keeping the viewer rapt through the entire duration. Project Nanhi Kali’s #PowerlessQueen Campaign drives home the message of woman empowerment by drawing dissimilarities in society’s outlook to empowering women through the ages. With the insight that roughly 85% of dad’s today play an active role in the development of their children, Flipkart’s Penguin Dad Campaign challenges existing stereotypes to bring a “Progressive India” to the forefront. Lastly, Reebok’s #BruisesCanBeGood Campaign is a fantastic spot on inspiring women to be #FitToFight, in the light of rising reported cases of violence against women.

With a little over a week to go and the festive fever spreading I am certainly looking forward to a power-packed week of inspiration, innovation and networking (with a shot of infectious energy).

Abhinay Bhasin

Abhinay Bhasin is Associate Director, Data Sciences at Dentsu Aegis Network, India. He is a post graduation in Economics from the University of Warwick (United Kingdom) and started his career as Media Manager for Carat on key accounts like Mondelez, Mattel and Total in 2015.