Cannes Lions 2024: Indian campaigns competing for coveted metals

After winning big at the Cannes Lions last year, India has indeed set the bar high for creativity. Leo Burnett, Dentsu Creative, BBDO, VML, Tghtr and Havas are among the advertising agencies that have made entries at the Cannes Lions 2024

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Cannes Lions 2024: Indian campaigns
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Delhi: Cannes Lions is the most prestigious awards gala of the advertising industry globally and is scheduled to take place at its usual location Palais des Festivals et des Congresin Cannes, France from June 17-21, in Cannes, France. 

Last year, the Indian tally at Cannes Lions included a Grand Prix, two Gold, 10 Silver and 12 Bronze medals where Leo Burnett Mumbai emerged as the highest-scoring agency.

Hoping for the best this year, here’s a sneak peek into campaigns from India that will attempt to bring home the coveted metals. 

Dentsu Creative’s ‘Motorola Deep Connect’ campaign

Motorola Deep Connect is an innovative solution developed by Motorola and executed by Dentsu Creative India. The technology utilises the miner's existing communication infrastructure- walkie-talkie, and converts radio signals into voice calls, enabling them to connect with their families back home through smartphones. A custom module installed at the surface of coal mines makes this two-way communication possible.

The campaign has been entered into 19 categories at Cannes Lions 2024, including Audio & Radio, Brand Experience & Activation, Direct, Innovation, Sustainable Development Goals, Titanium, and Health & Wellness.

Motorola Deep Connect: 

Leo Burnett has entered three campaigns this year

Gatorade Turf Finder

In a nation of 1.4 billion people, only 2% play sports due to rapid urbanisation. Especially in a city like Mumbai where all open grounds have been encroached upon. Leaving 1 playground for 1 million. 76% of Indians complain of ‘lack of space’ for not playing at all. Through this campaign, the brand aimed to realistically address the lack of space by unlocking new spaces within the limited area of the cities. In partnership with Google Maps, the agency used its historical data tool to find when roads go empty becoming open spaces to drop the turf and play. 

Say It with Oreo

Oreo, a cookie known for playful conversations and connections, noticed that people were struggling to have open conversations like, “How do I ask my boss for a raise?”; “How do I apologise to my wife for forgetting her birthday?”; “How do I tell my parents I don’t want to get married?”

Conceptualised by Leo Burnett, the agency focused on humour and employed AI, knowing that humour can instantly turn a serious situation into a playful one. However, since not everyone has a natural knack for humour, they decided to make this superpower accessible to all.

Teaming up with Farhan Akhtar, the campaign featured printed alphabets on Oreo cookies, which, when scanned, helped India "Say it With Oreo." Whenever India was at a loss for words, the agency used AI to generate responses in Farhan Akhtar’s voice, infused with his wit and humour. This initiative marked the first-of-its-kind, largest AI-led campaign for Mondelez - Oreo, leveraging generative AI to produce witty responses to customer questions in Farhan Akhtar’s voice. The campaign was entirely AI-enabled and did not require any human intervention after the customer asked a question. 

IKEA - Ads that Save Time

IKEA’s products are known for saving time in everyday ordeals. The seconds saved daily with IKEA culminates into hours in a lifetime, almost 5000 hours. To demonstrate how IKEA can help save time, the agency created Ads that Save Time, a series of time-saving YouTube pre-rolls. The ads featured characters, who with the help of IKEA organising products, pressed the skip button before the viewer could, establishing that organising with IKEA is indeed awesome.

BBDO’s HomeTeams #ShareTheLoad and The ‘103 Rakhee’ for Women’s Safety

The agency has entered the HomeTeams #ShareTheLoad campaign in the categories of Film, Integrated, Media, and PR.

#ShareTheLoad is a long-running movement by Ariel that aims to highlight the unequal distribution of household chores at home. 

This year, their campaign, HomeTeams #ShareTheLoad, aims to urge men to step up on their home duties to reduce the mental burden of household work on women when they are not at home.

Furthermore, the brand believes men frequently phone their wives inquiring about the whereabouts of household items. Queries like, "Where are the socks?" or "Where's the Toor daal stored?" contribute to the mental burden shouldered by women managing the household, especially when they're away. 

Ariel has created Home Map- an app aimed to assist husbands in locating items within their homes. Just as men rely on maps to navigate unfamiliar places outdoors, Home Map enables them to locate items within their own homes. Ariel aims to leave the audience with the question: "Is this app truly necessary?"

But that was not all. Ariel also hijacked prime-time news. The news anchor’s husband took over the news screen, reassuring her that he had the home covered, surprising both the anchor and millions of viewers.

The ‘103 Rakhee’ for Women’s Safety

103, a women’s safety helpline was launched by the Mumbai Police. Despite announcing the helpline across mainstream media, very few women knew about it. 88% of women in Mumbai said they had no idea about 103.

In India, culture reaches where mainstream media can’t. So, BBDO turned to culture – to Raksha Bandhan – a traditional Indian festival, wherein the agency took the Rakhi and turned it into a medium to spotlight the helpline. ‘The 103 RAKHI’ was launched with a guerrilla act.

At a women’s safety event, a well-known activist surprised the Mumbai Commissioner of Police with this specially designed 103 Rakhi to raise awareness about the helpline. This captured the attention of the press and women present at the event. The Commissioner of Police shared this special moment on his widely popular Instagram page. This created news and celebrities grew the movement. 103 Rakhis were available at stores, where it captured the attention of women shopping for Rakhis. The 103 Rakhi took up further traditional media couldn’t and awareness about the helpline spread wider.

In a city of 8.5 million women, awareness about the helpline grew and reached people – ‘Women Safety Helpline 103 Help will be there in 10 minutes.’

Tgthr at Cannes Lions 2024

Among this year's contenders for the coveted Cannes Lions is Tgthr. Let's look at its entry.

Harpic India urged women to #BeFreeToPee in a four-weeklong campaign that was launched with a film showing the helplessness different women feel when they can't find a loo.

On Women's Day, Harpic went a step forward partnering with two of India's biggest loo providers, Sulabh Internationals and PVR Nest, and cleaned the most used toilest, giving women the priceless experience of a clean public loo.

The campaign sparked a conversation with over 163 million reach. Indian celebrities from all walks of life joined including actors like Akshay Kumar, Chitranga Sing, Soha Ali Khan spoke about the criticality of such an app. It led to a whooping INR 84 million earned media and over 64,000  app downloads and counting.  

Campaign for Harpic: 

VML has entered three of its work

When talking about the major campaign entering Cannes 2024, Mukund Olety, Chief Creative Officer, VML India, said, “We, as a country are making our presence felt at Cannes every single year. This year will not be any different. I am hoping this is going to be a phenomenal year at Cannes for us as a country and of course for us at VML India.”

“A few of our contenders including “Are Those Neeman’s Shoes”, Blood Fertilizer, and Unplastic India are already creating some noise in the awards circuit. There is momentum and I hope it carries all the way. We have a pretty diverse set of entries this year and I am immensely proud of the teams for creating world-class work that is high on craft, creativity, and purpose.”

Sharing a brief note on each piece for the description:

“Are Those Neeman’s Shoes”

In a partnership that began with the idea in January 2024, Neeman’s and VML worked with  The Other Half, a boutique production company, to launch a strategy to increase awareness and traffic to the brand’s website and reach a wider audience.

Marketers use voice data to target consumers with ads. The campaign taps into this insight – and hacks the algorithm. “Are Those Neeman’s Shoes Phone Hack” features two influencers traversing across the  country, adorned in Neeman's Shoes, drawing attention with their loud, enthusiastic  question, "Are those Neeman's shoes?" Trying to capture not only people’s attention but also that of their always-listening phones.

Havas Group India

The Group’s entries include Nava Shringar For Nava Durga for Mamaearth and Mortein Raksha Jyoti for Mortein.

Mamaearth - Nava Shringar For Nava

The categories applied for are Single-Market Campaign (Brand Experience & Activation), Design-Driven Effectiveness (Design), and  Use of Events & Stunts (PR).

Mortein Raksha Jyoti 

The categories entered are Brand Experience & Activation (Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight), Direct (Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight), Health & Wellness (Brand Led Education & Awareness - Brand Experience & Activation, Brand-Led Education & Awareness - Direct, Brand-Led Education & Awareness - Outdoor Ambient), Innovation (Societal Innovation), Media (Small Scale Media), and Outdoor (Promotional Items & Printed Idea).

Cannes 2024