Saatchi & Saatchi India has won a silver Pencil at this year's One Show awards, which were given away at the World Financial Center, New York, last weekend. The agency won the prestigious recognition for its poster entry ('Read this standing on one leg') for The Terry Fox Foundation, a Canada-based foundation that supports cancer research, and works towards finding a cure for cancer. The entry picked up the Pencil in the Outdoor and Poster category.
Saatchi India's win makes it only the third Indian agency ever to have won a Pencil at the One Show. It may be recalled that India first made an impression at these awards last year, when siblings O&M India and rmg david returned home with silver Pencils - for the 'Second-hand smoke' ad and the 'Gandhi' film for Essar, respectively. This year too, O&M India and rmg - along with Saatchi India and Publicis Ambience - were in the running for Pencils. In all, nine entries from India (six from O&M, and one each from Saatchi, rmg and Ambience) were nominated for Pencils this year.
It goes without saying that excitement is in abundance at Saatchi, Bangalore. "It's still sinking in," is how writer Vinod Lal Heera Eshwer puts it, speaking to agencyfaqs!. For the record, Vinod and art partner Dinesh TP were instrumental in creating the award-winning poster. The poster itself is a six-foot-long affair with some 2,000 words of copy (which, incidentally, stands one of the unwritten rules of poster advertising on its head) starting with the headline: 'Read this standing on one leg'.
To understand this better, a bit on The Terry Fox Foundation. The Foundation takes its name from an 18-year-old youth named Terry Fox, who was a victim of osteogenic sarcoma (bone cancer). The Foundation's website states that back in the late seventies, 'a common treatment for this type of cancer was amputation, and Terry had his right leg removed six inches above his knee'. Terry Fox determined that he would 'do something to prevent people from going through what he did' and 'help find a cure for cancer'.
'Knowing that cancer research was severely under-funded in Canada, Terry decided to run across the country to raise money, and awareness, for cancer research,' states the website. 'He called his journey the Marathon of Hope. With fierce determination, Terry started his fund raising journey on April 12, 1980, in St John's, Newfoundland. Terry ran 43 kilometres (26 miles) every day for 143 days, but was forced to stop running in Thunder Bay, Ontario, when the cancer spread to his lungs. By February 1981, Terry's wish of raising one dollar from every Canadian was realized - the Marathon of Hope fund totaled $24.17 million. Terry died of cancer in June 1981, at age 22.'
A moving saga of pain, hope and courage, and Vinod agrees that it proved inspirational in creating the ad. "The client told us they wanted to organize the Marathon of Hope in Bangalore, and wanted us to do some posters for them," he recalls. "I did not know anything about the Foundation, but we did some clever posters anyway. Then, one Friday, the client gave us a VCD on Terry Fox." Vinod admits that he finally watched the VCD "on the afternoon of Sunday, as I had nothing better to do. It impacted me like little else has. I was so moved that I ended up joining the Foundation. And that's when I figured that if the poster has to have any impact, everyone has to know exactly what Terry Fox did and achieved. His whole story has to be told, in detail." That was the genesis of the six-foot poster.
The poster worked wonderfully, avers Vineet Singh Hukmani, executive vice-president, Saatchi & Saatchi India. "It was a mechanism to invite people for the run (which was held at Cubbon Park, Bangalore, on Feb 09 this year)," he says. "The problem was that people didn't know anything about the Foundation, but the poster worked so well that some 4,000 people turned up for the run, which raised Rs 6 lakh for cancer research. And about 80 per cent of those who participated in the run said that reading the poster had brought them there. Clearly, we were so moved by what Terry Fox did that it simply translated into a great creative idea. The client also loved the idea."
Hukmani gives all the credit to Vinod and Dinesh. "Vinod went through the process of understanding Terry Fox, which is why such good work happened. We at Saatchi are celebrating the fact that our youngsters have won this award. We see this as an encouragement to all young Indian creatives who believe that award-winning work can be done for authentic clients and brands." He adds that the duo is being sent to this year's Cannes Advertising Festival as official representatives of Saatchi India. Vinod, for his part, insists he owes it all to Saatchi. "They backed me and Dinesh and all our ideas for the Foundation to the hilt," he smiles. Incidentally, a hoarding created by Vinod and Dinesh for the Marathon of Hope (titled 'two graves') has made it to the Clio 2003 shortlist.
While a result on that is expected, for now, the silver Pencil has the agency brimming over with joy. © 2003 agencyfaqs!