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Ashish Bhasin on how DAN is dominating creative at Cannes Lions

Dentsu Aegis Network agencies – Dentsu Webchutney and Dentsu Impact – are keeping India’s hopes high at Cannes Lions 2019. Of the 51 Indian entries shortlisted so far this year (as of Wednesday, June 19, 2019), 19 belong to the Dentsu agencies alone. 

What’s even more heartening to note is that the wins are not just in the Digital space, but highlight Dentsu’s growing process in the Creative side of the business. After demonstrating cut-throat dominance in digital, Dentsu Aegis Network is now dominating creative too. The latest shortlist from Cannes Lions today has listed 6 nominations from Dentsu Webchutney alone. This is in addition to the ‘Uri’ shortlist that the agency has secured, apart from the 2 shortlists that Dentsu Impact has bagged for ‘Complete’ and ‘Repaired’, created for Benson Polymer’s Polyfix Instant Glue in Other FMCG sub-category. Taproot Dentsu, meanwhile, continues to be one of the most powerful creative powerhouses of India. 

In a brief chat with Adgully, Ashish Bhasin, CEO Greater South – Dentsu Aegis Network and Chairman & CEO India, shares his thoughts on Dentsu’s performance, breaking down traditional siloes and more. 

Work from DAN have been shortlisted in categories beyond digital. Your thoughts on this.
It is a great feeling to be leading the country in number of shortlists. We have 19 shortlists spread between DentsuWebchutney and Dentsu Impact. It is time to recognise that creativity is not the forte of some old-world legacy agencies. Young new world agencies are now claiming their right in India. This is the baseline of that. Having built business leadership in digital, over the last couple of years we shifted to creative because we want to be digitally adept, but creatively led. Now, that is starting to pay dividends because we have these many shortlists as a digital agency. 

Has the digital approach strengthened your work in other categories?
There is no doubt about. I think 3-5 years from today there will be nothing like a digital creative agency; any agency that does not have digital will not exist. To me this is a sign of that. 

What is your creative strategy at Dentsu?
The strategy was to improve our creative product. In the last few years we have had people like Malvika join us, adding great talent and Aggie becoming Creative Chairman. In young agencies like Dentsu Webchutney, we have the best talent possibly in the country. We have a very young creative director heading Dentsu Webchutney. We have invested in the right talent plus we have a 360-degree integrated approach because of our one P&L model, thus we are able to contribute to every aspect of the business. We are not held back by traditional siloes. Whatever, the brand needs, we are able to work on. 

What are the trends in creativity that you see this year at Cannes Lions?
There is definitely a lot of empathy for creativity that does not just sell brands, but also does good. One area where India in general still lacks is that we could present our work much better.

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