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Cannes Lions 2022: The ‘1983’ moment of Indian advertising – Josy Paul

India has had its best year ever at Cannes Lions 2022, with a rich haul of 47 metals that included 5 Grand Prix, 8 Gold, 18 Silver, 14 Bronze and 2 Titanium Lions.

Among the winners at Cannes Lions 2022 from India, is BBDO India, which brought home a Bronze Lion for the See Equal #Sharetheload campaign, done for P&G’s detergent brand Ariel. The Brone was won in the Media category under Corporate Purpose and Social Responsibility subcategory.

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In a brief e-mail interaction with Adgully, Josy Paul, Chairman and CCO of BBDO India, speaks about his agency’s win at Cannes Lions 2022, India’s strong show at the advertising festival, how creativity is the return gift of empathy, and more.

How has your entire experience of winning at Cannes Lions 2022 been? Were you expecting the win?

We are thrilled that our work, ‘See Equal #ShareTheLoad’, for P&G’s Ariel detergent has been recognised at the Cannes Lions Festival of Creativity 2022.

We started the brand movement for social change in 2015 and it is rewarding to see its impact on brand and culture. The new film in the movement received over 115 million views across platforms. The campaign generated over $35 million in earned media. Four billion earned impressions. 43% increase in emotional equity for Ariel. And a significant increase in sales. In 2015, 79% of men believed that laundry is a woman’s job. Today, that number has dropped to 26%.

It’s the longest running movement for any brand in India that’s been winning year on year. We thank our enlightened client and all our media, PR and activation partners for this record breaking win.

India has had its best year ever at Cannes Lions this year? What are your observations on the creative work from India? Is the world finally warming up to the creative talent in India?

It was the ‘1983’ moment of Indian advertising. The amazing thing is that the finals of India’s advertising victory came just a day before the 39th anniversary of India’s historic cricket World Cup win at Lords (on June 25, 1983 by Kapil Dev and his band of believers.) In that sense, the year 2022 represents the ‘1983’ of Indian creativity. Look at the number of agencies that contributed to the glory (some more than others, but all making a difference) – Dentsu Creative, FCB, Ogilvy, VMLY&R, Leo Burnett, DDB Mudra, McCann, BYJU’S, BBDO India and many others who added to the long tail of shortlist recognition. The victory represents the distributed creativity and collective focus of a creatively confident nation.

How can India keep up this winning momentum? Do you think campaigns are becoming more about social responsibility, empathy and soft sell rather than carefully crafted brand push?

People are looking for meaningful actions from brands. We are seeing this with most of the winning work from India. As an agency, we’ve been saying for a while now – create acts, not ads! It’s getting increasingly clear that meaningful work is here to stay. Empathy is the starting point. It comes from a deep understanding of human confessions, not just insights. Getting it right can involve an uncomfortable understanding of people and society. But, if handled sensitively, it has the power to transform brands and society. Empathy is everything. Creativity is the return gift of empathy.

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