Cannes Lions 2017: What Indian jury members are looking forward to

With the 64th International Festival of Creativity set to commence in Cannes in ten days, from June 17 to 24, excitement is building up and so are the discussions around India’s performance at the world’s biggest advertising festival this year. Leo Burnett India has bagged the country’s sole shortlist in the Innovation category this year, for its work for HP Lubricants’ #RoadsThatHonk. 

Among the 390 jury members for Cannes Lions 2017, there are 12 jurors from India across categories: 

Agnello Dias, Founder & Chief Creative Officer, Taproot Dentsu, India

Amit Akali, Chief Creative Officer, Medulla Communications, India

Amrit Ahuja, Managing Director, 20:20 MSL, India

Anita Nayyar, Chief Executive Officer, Havas Media, India & SE Asia

Ashish Deshpande, Director, Product Innovation, Elephant, India

Bobby Pawar, Managing Director & Chief Creative Officer, South Asia, Publicis, India

Pratap Bose, Founding Partner & Chairman, The Social Street, India

Rahul Nangia, Joint National Creative Director, L&K Saatchi & Saatchi, India

Ritu Sharda, Senior Executive Creative Director, BBDO, India

Sonal Dabral, Chairman & Chief Creative Officer, DDB Mudra, India

Sudeep Gohil, Managing Partner & Chief Strategy Officer, Publicis, India

Viral Pandya, Co-founder & Chief Creative Officer, Out of the Box, India 

Two new countries – The Dominican Republic and Vietnam – join the jury panels for the first-time. 43 per cent of jurors are female in 2017, a record for the Festival. The number of women on the juries has doubled in the last five years, from 21 per cent in 2012.  

Adgully spoke to some of the Indian jury members at Cannes Lions 2017 before they head out to the festival to find out what they are looking forward to the most at the festival this year as well as judging international work. 

Learnings, Landmarks & Global Benchmarks 

Anita Nayyar, CEO - India and South Asia, Havas Media Group:
“It feels extremely proud to be part of the jury judging these coveted Lions. Over the years I have been following the wonderful work being shortlisted and winning at Cannes. While, I have judged many awards, this once for sure is special as it provides an opportunity to look at the world’s best work. 

Each year there is a dramatic improvement in the kind of work being submitted at the awards and the bar gets raised. This year, too, the quality of awards will be good. I am certainly expecting a lot of work with digital at the core given the obvious progression across the world from traditional to digital. 

As far as India is concerned, 2016 was a landmark year of wins for India and I am hoping 2017 is going to be better! Indian entries are also seeing a remarkable shift and improvement in storytelling and packaging. While the biggest challenge is to get your story across in 2 minutes, the opportunity is to be able to communicate comprehensively in 2 minutes. And if an idea cannot get communicated in 2 minutes, it is an idea not worth it.” 

Ashish Deshpande, Director - Product & Retail Experience, Elephant Design:
“I expect Cannes Lions 2017 to set a global benchmark for the best in Design. Design working across emotive experiences and tangible functions must relate both to people and brands. Challenges that are tackled with high level of creative input and executed with great finesse are always a delight. Overall, I expect top design entries to be creative, humane and positively impact the lives of many more on our Earth.”  

Amit Akali, Chief Creative Officer, Medulla Communications, India:
While Healthcare and Pharmaceuticals are fairly new categories, they have seen some exciting progress in the last few years. Since the Health Lions kicks of the festival, these awards are the ones where a few entries put up their hands, get recognised and then win across other categories throughout the festival. Last year, Man Boobs won the Healthcare ‘Grandprix for Good’, then won across categories and was most people’s favourite campaign too. Similarly, I happened to have judged healthcare at Media Spikes last year and the Gold and Grand Prix winners there won across design, PR, activation, digital, etc. So, I am excited about being part of a jury that views and marks out the winners before others can.”  

Ritu Sharda, Senior Executive Creative Director at BBDO - ‎Publicis Advertising:
“Expectation from Cannes is to learn, learn, learn! Immerse myself in the work. It is my first time in the jury and what I am looking forward to is the discussions on the work with the diverse jury members.” 

Amrit Ahuja, Managing Director, 20:20 MSL India:
“This year, Cannes Lions will see a large mix of people. 40 per cent of the jury members are women, which is a great endorsement for them being at the core of creativity. Also, the three parallel sessions – Lions Entertainment, Lions Creativity and Lions Innovation – are a great opportunity to see more focused work on the three key drivers of communication.” 

In search of that “Wow factor 

Anita Nayyar:
“Creativity is the hallmark of the Media Lions, where ideas are inspiringly and innovatively implemented and amplified using effective media channel strategy. The best works just hits you, they touch and get drawn into your long term memory instantly or make you think, ‘Why didn’t I think of it?’” 

Amrit Ahuja:
“I am the jury member for Lions Innovation, where the key criteria for selection is how technology has been used for running the campaign and how communication has been amplified in the campaign. I have over 500 entries to go through before getting to Cannes. It is imperative that emphasis is given to innovation that has had a high impact over a short period of time – this will be one of the key drivers for getting shortlisted. Once the jury meets face to face, we will arrive at the winners.” 

Amit Akali:
“I understand that Pharma as a category comes with lots of restrictions. I personally have always seen this as an opportunity. Work that shines inspite of the restrictions stands out very easily. Having come from and judged mainline advertising award shows over the last 20 years, I would be looking for pieces that use the basics of great insight, fresh creativity and outstanding execution to break beyond the restrictions and stand out.”  

Ashish Deshpande:
“The jury at Cannes Lions will get together to decide an approach and criteria for selection at the right time. At this point, I would lay emphasis on originality and creativity of the entries, its impact and execution, and the extent of goodness an entry can generate for humanity. Best work definitely should sport a “wow” factor and distinguish itself from what has been done before. I look forward to evaluate new challenges being tackled by Design.” 

Ritu Sharda:
“The criteria to select the work would be of course the idea, but also the context the idea fits in, and its relevance for the category product and country.” 


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