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Make hay while the Cannes shines: Indu Balachandran

Okay, that was a terrible use of the word 'Cannes' in the title, but you must admit that it isn't worse than stuff like 'India shows it Cannes!' or 'Cannes India do it again?', which has been all the rage over the past few years

Indu Balachandran
JWT Chennai
June 26

Okay, that was & #BANNER1 & # a terrible use of the word 'Cannes' in the title, but you must admit that it isn't worse than stuff like 'India shows it Cannes!' or 'Cannes India do it again?', which has been all the rage over the past few years.

Well, the point of the title is that every now and then, there is an exciting, "the time is right" situation that comes with an unexpected Indian win.

When Sushmita Sen won the Miss Universe title, a lot of smart women rushed off to buy make-up and slim down and groom for beauty pageants.

When Jhumpa Lahiri won the Pulitzer Prize, a lot of envious writers rushed off to attempt India-themed short stories.

When 'Hyderabad Blues' won Best Film at the Atlanta International Festival, a lot of filmmakers rushed off to shoot Indian diaspora films on small budgets.

The thing was, each of these winners made a particular kind of creative pursuit look so desirable, so within reach.

And set off an exciting trend or mood to make similar-themed activity suddenly very fashionable. And what's more - they got a whole lot of people to buy into it, too.

And all of this is exactly what happens when India wins golds at Cannes. A Ping! goes off in hundreds of creative minds that says: 'Hey, wish I had done that, wish I had thought of that… actually even I can easily come up with something like that… in fact, I have an idea right now.'

A curious mix of jealousy and inspiration that can be a potent trigger to unleashing a frenzy of creativity. 'Look! Finally, it's all about dead simplicity!' Or, 'I've got the trick - we must get an international idea…' Or, 'Actually, it should be extremely Indian, that's it!' Or, 'It should have this huge element of risk - but make a connect!'

Well, such stimulated mental exclamations often happen through the year in advertising agencies - sometimes in a weekend creative workshop, sometimes when a new One Show volume is opened in the office, or even at a desk where someone is playing a daily download from Ad Forum's latest commercials. 'Oh %@#*! Look at this…' says someone - and creative people gaze at it in awed silence. But the difference right now is, it's not just happening inside ad agencies. The whole world is seeing and listening to this Cannes win thing just now. It's everywhere. Ordinary non-ad people are logging onto canneslions.com to see what all the fuss is about! Even your doctor may ask you about it in conversation when you visit him next. Or your landlord - or even your mother in law - is probably thinking it's cool to be in advertising after all.

And hey, guess what - a lot of clients, too, are seeing, reading, hearing… maybe even feeling that curious mixture of jealousy and inspiration just now. They are feeling a wonderfully stirring feeling that comes from looking at other award-getting clients' works. They are realising what it must be like to be brave.

So flip back, back, back into your writing pad - where's that impossible ambient media idea that everyone said the client would never buy? What about that risky blog idea you were joking about at the pub? What about that whacko illustration style that you found on the net? What about that shocking outdoor idea that you didn't even present?

It's going to be a hot July this year.

(The writer is a creative consultant with JWT, Chennai. You can write to her at indubee8@yahoo.co.in)

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