Usually, when there's no Indian shortlist in a particular category, there's no story on it. However, given the amount of things that have been said and written about this thing called 'Creative Effectiveness' we thought it warranted a small mention that our sole entry in this category has not been shortlisted this time.
In 2011, India sent in seven entries under this category. The number dropped to two in 2012. And this year, we sent just one entry.
This category was introduced by the Cannes Lions authorities in 2011; that year BBDO India was the first Indian agency to be nominated in the Creative Effectiveness category. The agency went on to become one of the six agencies in the world to win the first gold Lion in this category, that year. BBDO remains the only Indian agency to have won a Lion in this category as there were no Lions last year and no nominations this year.
For the record, in order to enter work in this category, the criteria require that piece of work to have won a lion - any lion - the previous year.
Recall that the year this category was introduced, the then Jury president of the Outdoor Lions category made a statement about the nature of this category. He said, "We do not know, what's better in terms of effectiveness -- a reach of 50,000 people or 60,000 people. Cannes Lions defines the state of creative work, and not effective work. A great idea for us is the one which intensely moves a set of people, even if small. You might reach out to a billion people and have an effective campaign, but not build a relationship with the consumer."
Just a few days back, afaqs! interviewed Lowe Lintas' creative supremo R Balki about his agency's non-participation in creative awards. His take on the 'creativeness versus effectiveness' debate was clear. He said in favour of creative work that is effective in the marketplace, as opposed to creativity for its own sake: "How can you judge an ad without knowing the problem it was trying to solve? If I'm trying to solve a problem that press has no role to play in and I do a press ad, the jury must disqualify it for using an incorrect medium; but it will reward me for it. That's rubbish. That's not the way to judge advertising."
A marketing honcho from Britannia said to me at a recent industry event, "We're happy to meet our agency mid-way between creativeness and effectiveness."
In the words of Prabhakar Mundkur, CEO, Percept/H, "The old polarity between creativity and effectiveness is no longer generally acceptable, and a somewhat false opposition. Times have changed and the Holy Communion between creative and effectiveness has reached a new high."
After all the song and dance that's been made of this category, Day One comes to a somewhat disappointing close with no Indian nominations here. It is, however, worth noting that only 12 entries did actually make it to this shortlist! And of these 12, four are entries from the USA.