Cannes 2015: Unilever India's Kan Khajura Tesan wins Creative Effectiveness Lion

By Ashwini Gangal , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | June 24, 2015
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The work, entered by Lowe UK, has won a Bronze Lion.

Of the 17 Creative Effectiveness Lions given away at the International Festival of Creativity this year, one has gone to Unilever India's Kan Khajura Tesan, a path-breaking mobile innovation. The entrant is Lowe and Partners Worldwide London. The work has fetched a Bronze Lion.

As reported previously, Kan Khajura Tesan is an Indian campaign, aimed at reaching media-dark regions in India, executed for an Indian client (Unilever India), by Indian agencies (Lowe Lintas and Partners India, Ozonetel Systems, PHD India and Hungama Digital).

Screenshot from the official Kan Khajura Tesan website

However, Lowe India's famed stance against creative awards prevents the team from entering its work in competitions like these. This reminds us of the agency's Gondappa film for Lifebuoy, also a Unilever brand. The touching ad film, part of the 'Help A Child Reach 5' campaign, won a Silver Lion in the Film category at Cannes 2013. Back then too, the work was entered by Lowe and Partners London; technically, it was not an Indian win.

In a previous cover story, largely based on an interview with Lowe's creative supremo R Balki - from whose desk this anti-awards attitude percolates down to the rest of the team - we explored this subject.

The article, published on in June 2013, reads: "Despite its longstanding stance against entering its work in creative award shows, Lowe India's ads still stand a chance of being awarded at these very shows. How so? Enter Lowe's Global Creative Council. This 30-member body that came into existence around three years back comprises creative talent from around 20 of Lowe's global offices. The council is free to pick work from Lowe India and enter it in any global award forum.

One may argue that this is a rather convenient set-up that allows Lowe to milk the best of both worlds: the agency maintains its anti-award stance while its work gets evaluated by international juries, a recent case in point being Lowe India's Lifebuoy commercial that was entered at Cannes by Lowe London and won the agency's UK contingent a Silver Film Lion last week. Amer Jaleel (NCD, Lowe India) reacts, "What comes first is important. The work we take to this council comprises work that has already succeeded in the Indian market and work that we're proud of. If the council feels it meets the criteria set by international award forums, they enter it, but we never make ads in a particular manner just so that we can present it to this council." And luckily for Lowe India, the global Lowe network, as well as its holding company the Interpublic Group, have both been supportive of its approach to awards."

For the record, in order to enter work in the Creative Effectiveness category, the criteria require that piece of work to have won a lion - any lion - the previous year. Last year, The Kan Khajura Tesan campaign fetched four Lions (three Gold Lions and one Bronze Lion) at Cannes.

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