Alokananda Chakraborty

India gets two Cannes shortlists in Film, courtesy O&M and Burnett<b><font face="Verdana" size="1" color="#FF0033">Cannes Awards!</font></b>

O&M’s ‘bus’ commercial for Fevicol and Leo Burnett’s ‘power failure’ film for the National Association for the Blind have made it to the Cannes shortlist

India's prospects of adding a few more Cannes Lions to its credit has received a boost, with two Indian television commercials making it to the shortlist at this year's Cannes International Advertising Festival. And the credit for this goes to O&M India (again) and Leo Burnett India. The O&M entry that has made it to the shortlist stage is, expectedly, last year's ‘bus' spot for Fevicol. While the entry from Burnett is the ‘power failure' commercial for the National Association for the Blind.

The much-talked-about Fevicol spot - which was a part of the Fevicol campaign that won gold at this year's Abby Awards - has always been seen as a potential Cannes-winner by the local ad fraternity. And even though quite a few advertising professionals believe that O&M's ‘testament' commercial for M-Seal was better (idea-wise) than the Fevicol spot, almost everyone agrees that the latter stands a better chance of winning at Cannes. Primarily because of the "simplicity of the Fevicol idea" and the purely lateral approach to advertising, which is said to have greater appeal among Cannes jurors. As a matter of fact, Fevicol's ‘bus' was the only Indian commercial to get featured in Leo Burnett's Cannes Predictions 2002 Reel (‘Leo Burnett India organizes Cannes Predictions 2002').

If Fevicol was everybody's obvious choice, Leo Burnett's excellent ad for the National Association for the Blind is the proverbial dark horse. It never got a mention in any ‘prediction', official or unofficial.

The ad - which won a silver Abby this year, and was also a Finalist at the Clio Awards 2002 - tells the story of a man caught in the middle of an unexpected power failure. The man, who is descending a flight of stairs in unfamiliar territory, fumbles and stumbles in the dark, till he bumps into someone. This ‘someone' appears to know the lay of the land, and offers to guide the man out of the building. They walk down the stairs, the guide leading the way confidently. Finally, they come into the open, and the man thanks his guide for his help. And that's when he sees that his ‘guide' is actually a blind man. Eye-opening, most definitely.

agencyfaqs! got in touch with O&M and Burnett to get a feel of the atmosphere in both the agency headquarters. The first call went to Kumar Subramaniam, client services director, O&M. Subramaniam handles the Pidilite Industries portfolio, by the way. "I am very optimistic about Fevicol winning, though I am also keeping my fingers crossed," the excitement in Subramaniam's voice comes through clearly. "We always felt this one was a winner." Generous praise for Burnett's entry too. "I think the Burnett ad is very deserving," he says. "A great ad, that has not been talked about too much, unfortunately. I sincerely hope both ads make it. Like I said, fingers crossed."

At Leo Burnett, Executive Director Aniruddha Banerjee is more guarded in his enthusiasm. "We've made it to the shortlist, which is pretty nice, I guess," he says. "But it remains to be seen if our entry wins a Lion or not. That will be the ultimate."

Agnello Dias, executive creative director, Leo Burnett India, on the other hand, is "looking forward to the results, especially after the disappointments in print". Dias is of the opinion that some of India's deserving work in print did not win, which is sad. "I was expecting a more favourable outcome for India, more than the two gold Lions in print," he says. "I think some of the work that Ambience did was very deserving too. But it's nice to see these two shortlists in Film. Fevicol certainly stands a very good chance. Let's see what happens."

Incidentally, two years ago, at the Cannes Festival 2000, Fevicol's "cliffhanger" commercial (made by O&M) had won a bronze Lion. And the same year, Burnett too had picked up a bronze Lion for its "battery-operated toy" commercial for Forte India. Can the O&M-Fevicol combine and Burnett do an encore this time? © 2002 agencyfaqs!

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