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Cannes 2012: Non-Bollywoodish content helps Bacardi Dewarists bag the first metal in Branded Content & Entertainment

With this, the total metal tally for India at Cannes reaches 14. This is 10 less than last year, when Indian agencies had bagged four golds, 10 silvers and 10 bronzes.

It hasn't been a great year at Cannes for the Indian contingent. Where the other developing economies like Brazil - a country which India is often compared to at the global forum - have bagged 80 plus metals, the Indian metal tally couldn't even touch 15.

The Dewarists

Last year, India had bagged 24 Lions which included four golds, 10 silvers and 10 bronzes. This year it has been only three golds, three silvers and eight bronzes. The three gold Lions are in Outdoor, Design and Film Craft categories bagged by McCann, DDB Mudra, and Taproot and Abhinay Deo Productions, respectively.

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However, there have been a few saviours of grace in the gloomy period as well. Apart from the three golds, India has won a bronze in a newly introduced category -- Banded Content & Entertainment. It's always special to win or even be shortlisted in a new category at Cannes. It's tough because there is no precedence of what kind of work can make it to the winners list. If you make it to the list, it says you have been working on the same thoughts as the rest of the world.

The winning entry in this category is a piece of work on Bacardi India's Dewar's Scotch, entered by Babble Fish Production. The bronze was awarded in the sub-category - 'Best non-fiction programme, series or film where a client has successfully created a reality'.

The Dewarists - a blended scotch brand from Bacardi - got different genres of musicians to team up and create a new song. This was backed by a 10-part television series on STAR World, which featured the life stories of the musicians as well.

Phil Thomas, CEO, International Festival of Creatvity, Cannes, says, "When we launch a new category, we have to make sure that the timing is right."

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The festival had expected around 400 entries in this category but received a whopping 800 entries - a very high number for such specialised a new category.

Talking about the Indian entry, Avi Savar, founder and chief creative officer, Big Fuel, who headed the jury, says, "It was a departure from the kind of work that comes from the region - mainstream Bollywood style content. At the end, it was a really engaging creation which tapped into different media - digital and music."

When asked about the role of different media - paid, earned and multiple platform - in the decision, Savar says, "Well we did look at all these but the two key things were -- whether it was content or advertising and whether that category in which the content was entered, was the key driver."

He says, "We saw multiple categories, starting from events to music to fiction and non-fiction, and we also saw many cases of blending of media."

Cyrush Oshidar, creative director, Bawa Broadcasting, who was a member of the jury says, "In India, we mostly see branded content based on music. But here I got the opportunity to experience content in various formats."

Cultivate campaign

The Grand Prix in this category was awarded to 'Cultivate campaign,' for fast food joint Chipotle. Savar says, "The premise was an emotional connect, relevant to the audience and meaningful to the business, besides being an inspiring and entertaining content."

The film features how a farmer grows his farm into an industrial animal factory until he realizes the benefits of sustainable farming - and turns it back.

The same has also won a Grand Prix in Film Lions category as well. Savar says, "The film in the piece isn't an ad. It's content. And advertising should be content driven."

He adds, "In other categories, the product comes first and a story is weaved around it to make it relevant for the people. But in brand content and entertainment space, peoples' stories come first and are made relevant for the product."

In this category, there were more interesting pieces of work from Australia and New Zealand.

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