Cannes Lions awards ‘disputed’ Jindal Steel film with credit to agency which stole the idea from W+K

On Day 2, India brought home 1 Silver and 4 Bronze. So far, India has earned 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 6 Bronze

Akansha Srivastava
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Cannes: Failing the Litmus test, Cannes Lions awarded Early Man Film with a Silver and a Bronze Lion for the ‘disputed’ Jindal Steel’s ‘The Steel of India’ campaign in the Film Craft category on Day 2 of the advertising fest. 

While the campaign was entered by Early Man Film, the entry mentioned Kondurkar Studio, a creative boutique started by Wieden + Kennedy’s former employee Amrish Kondurkar, in the idea creation field. The important point to note here is that Kondurkar is not the original ideator of the campaign. 

To set the context, the Delhi High Court in its April 24 judgement observed that the campaign was prima facie similar to the idea presented by Wieden + Kennedy.

“The launch by the respondent (Jindal Steel) of the new campaign prima facie seemed to be substantially based on a similar theme, expressed through a montage of sequential images and videos stitched together by a soundscape of steel,” the Delhi High Court said in its April 24 order, adding that the choice of elements from the elements bucket provided by the petitioner (Wieden + Kennedy) to the respondent are substantially the same. had also reported that Jindal Steel and Wieden + Kennedy informed the Delhi High Court on May 8 that they settled their disputes amicably, following which the application was dismissed.

In a previous discussion with before the awards announcement, Cannes Lions officials stated that they were aware of the issue and had been in talks with both W+K and Early Man Films.

Early Man Film told the organisers of the Cannes Lions that there was an out-of-court settlement in the case and hence it is no longer a disputed work.

While Early Man Film submitted the letter signed by the client to the Cannes Lions, credit given to Kondurkar Studio for idea creation hints that the out-of-court settlement was done after the work was entered for judging.

Like any other commercial dispute, this case too had a logical end via out-of-court settlement after arbitration ordered by the Delhi High Court.

According to the sources privy to the details, Jindal Steel was allowed to run the TV and film campaign as it informed the court it committed Rs 50 crore to the media after it agreed to pay the full fees to W+K.

At the same time, the final transaction between the two parties did not mention the transfer of the IP right or eligibility to enter the film into any award function.

Moreover, the said settlement is proof that it was a W+K idea and the mention of Kondurkar Studio as an idea creation agency is wrong by all means.

It is to be noted that the same campaign was disqualified at India’s recently held Kyoorius Awards based on the matter mentioned above. 

Other winners from India

Leo Burnett has earned a Bronze Lion for Gatorade’s ‘Turf Finder’ campaign in the Entertainment Lion for Sports. 

Ogilvy won a Bronze for Cadbury 5-Star’s ‘Erase Valentine’s Day’ campaign in the Entertainment category.

VML Mumbai too got a Bronze for the ‘Sing to Remember’ campaign created for Coca-Cola’s Coke Studio.

For the first time, Cannes Lions has decided to announce the Silver and Bronze winners at 2:30 pm each day before the evening gala event, where the Gold, Grand Prix, and Special Awards winners will be revealed.

On Day 2 of the Cannes Lions 2024, India bagged one Silver and 4 Bronze.

So far, India has earned 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 6 Bronze.

Lions tally of Indian agencies





McCann Worldgroup



Ogilvy India



Leo Burnett India



Early Man Film



VML India



Wieden + Kennedy India Ogilvy Mumbai Early Man Film VML India Cannes Lions 2024 Jindal Steel Leo Burnett India Mumbai