afaqs!

Cannes 2009: Rediff wins the sole metal for India in the Radio Lions

By Prajjal Saha , afaqs!, Cannes | In Advertising | June 24, 2009
Simplicity was a key factor in the radio spot, which led it to win a bronze lion

The Vandana radio spot for the American Indian Foundation, a Delhi based NGO, for which Rediffusion Y&R had done proactive work, won a bronze at the Radio Lions this year. This was the sole win for India in this category.

The radio spot urges people to contribute for the education of underprivileged children. In it, a voiceover artist helps an illiterate girl child to read the message, urging people to contribute. The spot directs the listeners to a website.

& #BANNER1 & #Simplicity was a key factor in the radio spot, which led it to win a bronze Lion. The jury president, Matthew Bull, chief creative officer, Lowe Worldwide commented on this piece of work, "It is alarmingly beautifully done."

Explaining the objective of public service campaigns, Bull said, "There are many public service campaigns which are successful in provoking thought. However, there a few which actually urge you to contribute, and this is a must for the any public service campaign. The Vandana radio spot fulfils this criterion."

Apart from this radio spot, there were three other nominations from India - 'Bruce Lee's Death' for Stedfast by Publicis India; 'Old man' for Virgin Mobile by Bates 141; and 'Bush' for the Islamic Research Foundation by DDB Mudra.

Talking about the Bush ad, Bull said, "I wish the radio spot was done a little more intelligently. It was not a compelling one and I think it's an opportunity lost. The spot should have used instances where the Quran was quoted out of context. This would have made it more convincing."

The 'Bush' radio spot was a mixture of words from the actual speeches of George W Bush, which were clipped together in a manner such that its perceived meaning was something contrary to its intended meaning. It highlighted the misinterpretation of Islam and its wrongful use by terrorists. This spot also won a bronze Pencil in the Public Service - Radio Single category at One Show this year.

The Virgin Mobile radio spot by Bates 141 did not score too well with the jury. Bill said, "It was very cynical. It adds negativity to the brand. Besides, the jury did not find the idea to be an original one. Remember, the jury is made up of creative people from across the world and together, they have heard many kinds of work."

Bull was of the opinion that a radio spot, like any other piece of communication, should move from head to heart to mind. He added that while making a radio spot, "you should remember that you are interrupting people's entertainment, so you have to do it intelligently." He cited the example of the Toyota Prius campaign and said, "The idea was good but it lacked 'listenability'."

This year, only one gold and one Grand Prix were awarded in this category. Bull adds that radio is an old and tough medium. "We were looking for freshness in the idea because you cannot innovate much with the radio spots."

The Grand Prix was awarded to a campaign for Virgin Atlantic Airline by Network BBDO, Johannesburg and the gold was awarded to the National Thoroughbred campaign, a horse racing event by Devito/Verdi, Johannesburg.