Cannes 2012: Will the Cannes jury agree with the Indian creatives on Vaseline Bat campaign?

By , Winners & Finalist, Cannes | In Advertising | June 19, 2012
In a poll done by afaqs! early this year for the annual issue, the Indian creative heads had unanimously voted for the Vaseline Bat campaign. Hope the international jury voices a similar opinion.

Early this year, when afaqs! polled the Indian creative heads for the annual issue of our magazine on their favourite print campaign - the one which got the maximum votes was the Vaseline - Cricket Bat campaign.

The same has been shortlisted in the Press Lions category this year. BBH India created a topical and patriotic print ad for Vaseline in the context of Michael Vaughan's tweet controversy. The campaign was inspired by an insinuation made by former cricketer Vaughan during the India-England series that Indian batsman VVS Laxman had used Vaseline on his bat to dodge 'Hot Spot' cricket technology. "Has Vaseline on the outside edge saved the day for Laxman?" is what he tweeted. It created a huge controversy and Vaughan was slammed for his comments.

cannes lions

A print campaign was launched on August 10, 2011, in almost all key publications of India that countered Vaughan's tweet. It simply reiterated the many uses of Vaseline and portrayed the honest intent of telling 'Mr Vaughan' that in India, Vaseline is used for dry extremities, cracked heels, elbows and others, and not on cricket bats.

Simultaneously, the campaign also took up in a big way on social media with a Facebook app (a badge that people could use on their profiles that said "Dear Mr. Vaughan, in India we don't use Vaseline on cricket bats"). There was also digital advertising on sites like,,, along with Twitter to further propagate the message.

Within a few hours, the company gained over 5,000 tweets (including a few bemused ones from Michael Vaughan himself, who said "Finally someone with a sense of humour"). Within a few days of this launch, the brand's Facebook page had generated over 1,00,000 new visitors, thousands had displayed the badge on their profiles, multiple press reports appeared in all the leading national dailies and the same was covered by all leading news channels, radio stations, blog sites and sports websites.

Vaseline Cricket Bat

The campaign was opportunistic, like brands should be. This ad and the subsequent activity made an age-old brand like Vaseline truly new age in its response and its message. Reacting to Vaughan's controversial statement, Vaseline became the voice of an indignant nation and reminded people of its core proposition, all in one deft move. The activity that followed demonstrated the power of a social ad, and how even print ads can go viral.

It was a very successful and noticeable campaign, in a very short period of time. It also helped the agency win the silver Yahoo Big Idea Chair for Best Use of Social Media.

Here's hoping that the international jury makes an effort to understand the Indian sensibilities!

In Press Lions, overall, there were 31 shortlisted entries from India. DDB Mudra has got the maximum number of nominations, with 10 shortlisted entries. These include two entries for Volkswagen, three creatives for Stedfast Paper Shredders, and five creatives for Coffee Gold, in two different categories. One campaign for Stedfast paper shredders was also nominated last year.

Leo Burnett has got seven nominations for Bajaj Exhaust Fans in three different categories - Home Appliances and Furnishing, Art Direction and Photography.

Ogilvy India has got six shortlisted entries-three each for Mentos Sour Marbles and Hotwheels.

Apart from this, Publicis India has got two nominations for Book Stalk Audiobooks.

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