Rejected script takes Rajiv Agrawal to Cannes

By Khushboo Tanna , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 06, 2008
Agrawal is senior creative director, JWT Delhi, and his rejected script for won him the trip to Cannes


Agrawal, senior creative director, JWT Delhi, is flying to Cannes this month to attend the International Advertising Festival.

There probably is a long list of Indian creative directors who fly to Cannes every year to attend the advertising festival. Agrawal is going there for a different reason. He is one of the lucky ones to have made it to Cannes for one of his rejected scripts for

Agrawal is the winner of the RoarUrWay2Cannes contest organised by Thinkpot Productions in association with afaqs! It was a contest that honoured the greatest fear of a creative director - rejection. Through this contest, creative personnel working in ad agencies could send their rejected ad scripts and win an all expenses paid trip to attend the Cannes Lions 2008.

Rajiv Agrawal
Agrawal was naturally thrilled to hear that his entry was the winner among hundreds of entries from the industry. He says, "It is not about going to Cannes, but the fact that one is being recognised for what one believes in."

Agrawal's winning script is about a man who gets a job as a chimpanzee in a zoo when the zoo's chimpanzee dies. He tries to attract the crowd by performing various chimpanzee stunts. Suddenly, he slips and lands in the tiger's enclosure. Frightened, he starts screaming for help, only to realise that the tiger is also a man in disguise. This is followed by a voiceover which says, 'Caught in the wrong job? Log on to Our Sharp search engine finds you the right job.'

Thomas Xavier, chairman, Orchard India, and one of the jury members, says, "Without doubt, this was the most enjoyable experience I had while judging an award. No unnecessary conversation, ego clashes or ulterior agenda. Just you in a quiet room, with some fantastic work to pore over. Disguise for was my favourite. I believe if it had been executed and sent to Cannes, it would have won for sure."

Explaining why his script was rejected, Agrawal says his script depicted one man caught in the wrong job, whereas the one chosen depicted multiple people caught in wrong jobs. "They wanted a multi-layered ad, whereas my script had a single layer," he says.

On his decision to send this particular script for the contest, Agrawal says he wanted to send an ad with which one could identify. "The story touches you at one point," he says, explaining how he finally went with his gut feeling.

Agrawal hit upon the idea for the script based on a story he had read some time ago. He says, "I like telling real stories with a twist that contain a mixture of experiences."

Talking about the selection procedure, Manoj Pillai, director, Thinkpot Productions, says, "We were looking for an idea that was original and had a certain degree of surprise. We also wanted the script to be relevant to the brand or the product it had been originally created for."

He adds that although the rules specified that one individual could submit only one entry, there were a number of professionals who sent in multiple entries, and all of them were considered.

The jury consisted of prominent personalities from the ad industry: Agnello Dias, chief creative officer, JWT India; Josy Paul, chairman and national creative director, BBDO India; KV Sridhar, NCD, Leo Burnett; Pratap Suthan, NCD, Cheil Worldwide India; and Thomas Xavier, chairman and NCD, Orchard India.

The contest was announced in April and received around 150 entries. Some of the shortlisted contenders were Hanoz Mogrelia, creative director, Saatchi & Saatchi (Ballon Burst for Crest Toothpaste); Samit Malkani and Hemeesha Someshwar of Lowe Mumbai (Axe); Sabu Paul, creative director, Mindspace (; and Mukund Olety of JWT Delhi (Vizag Steel). Shortlisted scripts can be read on

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