Exclusive | Drawing the best from Cannes 2012: Josy Paul
Cannes 2012 has been a rough year for India when it comes to the metal count. Indian advertising agencies are back at it again, trying to create inspiring work and deriving inspiration from the great work they witnessed at the festival. Adgully talks to Josy Paul- Chairman and national creative director, BBDO India about his rendezvous with Cannes 2012.Josy Paul also debuted as a speaker at Cannes this year.
Adgully (AG): Tell us about your experience at Cannes this year?
Josy Paul (JP): This was my best Cannes pilgrimage ever. I've come back feeling younger and more determined. I was in the midst of great work and attended some exciting seminars. I was there when President Clinton spoke about shared empowerment and world betterment. I enjoyed the friendly banter between Jeff Goodby and his GM client on stage. I was wowed by the breathtaking 'young directors showcase'. It was awesome to listen to Alain de Botton talk about the three big needs of human beings: friendship, freedom and reflection. Then there were the open BBDO sessions with David Lubars, Marcello Serpa, Paul Brazier, Greg Hahn and other creative legends. The award shows every evening were the jewel of Cannes, and I enjoyed them all. BBDO India did reasonably well – we won two metals and eight shortlists. My personal big moment was being a speaker at Cannes alongside the legendary creative leaders of BBDO and advertising's most celebrated heroes. The session proved to be more touching than I imagined. After my presentation, I had so many people come up to me and thank me for giving them a deeper understanding of the cultural codes of the city of Mumbai. I never had so many people of different nationalities hug me after a presentation. It must be a Guinness Book record!
AG: BBDO India has been consistently winning at Cannes for the Gillette entry? What according to you is the asset of the entry?
JP: In just over two years BBDO has won 7 metals at Cannes. That's a record of sorts – especially for a young Indian agency that's only just begun. So it's very encouraging. Of these, we've won 5 metals for Gillette across three different campaigns – 'WALS', 'ShaveSutra' and 'You Shave I Shave'. All these big transformational ideas are acts, not ads. They create platforms for consumers to engage and debate. They generate conversations. And they use social media to drive involvement. They've won PR Lions, Media Lions, and also the world's first Creative-Effectiveness Lion.
AG: What do you think about the evolution of ideas at Cannes this year as compared to the last year?
JP: Ideas have no geography. The winners were coming from the most unexpected places. From Tunisia and Costa Rica, Sri Lanka and Lebanon and from places I hadn't heard before. I noticed that this year Cannes was more about big emotions and less about clever ideas; may be because clever ideas talk to a few, while big emotions talk to everyone.
AG: The most important lesson that was learnt at Cannes 2012?
JP: The most important lesson is that we should not follow past patterns. Forget all the formulas on how to win at Cannes. Be yourself. Believe in your country and its real issues. Look within India. The more we respond authentically to our own Indian situation, the more unique our solutions will be, and greater the chances of the world loving our work.
AG: What do you think India needs to do to strengthen its positioning in the advertising arena?
JP: I think we should focus on the positive. We know we have some fantastic talent in India. And our best work is among the best in the world. So we should focus on being more of who we are. Festivals like Cannes allow us to exchange art and culture, and in time we will understand more of the world, and the world will understand us better. I am confident this will lead to greater Indian performance at Cannes.
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